Boulevard

 

starstarstarhalf

 


In his last film, Robin Williams plays an unfulfilled bank employee who suddenly sees the emptiness of 

his life.

 
Boulevard

 
It’s hard to imagine a sadder film to showcase Robin Williams’ final performance. He plays Nolan Mack, a gentle, trusting but ultimately unfulfilled bank employee who shares a parallel life with his wife (Kathy Baker) of countless years. They sleep in separate beds – in separate bedrooms – and come together in the evenings when he cooks and she listens. Now 60-years-old, Nolan starts to see the limits of his life, particularly with his father in the hospital and unlikely to leave. Then one night, on a whim, he makes an uncharacteristic and stupid mistake – or maybe his first truthful move…

 

A story of quiet desperation, Dito Montiel's Boulevard – named after the Nashville thoroughfare where Nolan turns his world upside down – probably describes the life of many a 60-year-old American. Unfortunately, Nolan Mack is such a milksop that you want to slap him. Yet, even in this liberated day and age, there are many people as disconnected as Williams’ character. Occasionally, though, it’s good to spend time with these people. More often, such nonentities crop up in foreign-language films, such as the highly commendable Hour of the Star (1985) from Brazil, Claude Goretta's The Lacemaker (1977), the Argentine Suddenly (2002) and Agnès Jaoui's Comme une image (2004).

 

Williams, who was arguably in a rather bad place when he made Boulevard – he committed suicide in the year of the film’s original release – keeps his usual bravura in check and delivers a performance of heart-breaking melancholy. Sadly, Roberto Aguire, as another lost soul, whom Nolan befriends, is entirely less credible a creation, although Kathy Baker balances Williams’ dejection with affecting conviction. If one should carp, there is a tastefulness about the film that doesn’t entirely ring true, but the characters are engaging enough to draw us into this unusual, low-key and painfully poignant portrait of lost chances.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Robin Williams, Kathy Baker, Roberto Aguire, Bob Odenkirk, Henry Haggard, Eleonore Hendricks.

 

Dir Dito Montiel, Pro Monica Aguirre Diez Barroso, Ryan Belenzon, Mia Chang and Jeffrey Gelber, Screenplay Douglas Soesbe, Ph Chung-hoon Chung, Pro Des Angela Messina, Ed Jake Pushinsky, Music Jimmy Haun and David Wittman, Costumes Carlos Rosario.

 

Camellia Entertainment/Evil Media Empire-Kaleidoscope. 

88 mins. USA. 2014. Rel: 8 April 2016. Cert. 15.