“LaBute takes control and pushes your nose into the dirt so you don’t miss a thing.”
For various reasons, over the years I’ve only seen four films by writer-director Neil LaBute with the last being the extremely funny Death at a Funeral. I’m aware the filmmaker has a loyal fanbase and after just watching his latest effort Some Velvet Morning I can understand why. LaBute appears to be able to focus on the unpleasant side of human nature and whether it be in a comedic turn like Death at a Funeral or a straight drama, LaBute takes control and pushes your nose into the dirt so you don’t miss a thing.
The fact Stanley Tucci gave an incredible performance didn’t surprise me in the slightest but I didn’t expect such natural talent from Alice Eve. Tucci has a huge amount of movie credits with his only bit of recognition from the Academy being a solo nod for his supporting role as the creepy George Harvey in The Lovely Bones from 2010.
Stanley Tucci plays Fred, who we learn has just left his wife and turned up unexpectedly at Velvet’s doorstep. Velvet isn’t exactly enamoured at Fred showing up in this manner, as she has a dinner engagement she seems determined to get to. Fred clearly has feelings for Velvet but the feelings don’t appear to be mutual, and she tries several times to make him aware of this.
Velvet’s attempts at letting Fred down gently initially fall on deaf ears, but he eventually gets angry because, instead of the warm welcome he’d been expecting, Velvet just wants him to leave. Things turn ugly with Fred making various threats and accusations, leaving Velvet, along with the audience, feeling very uncomfortable.
They apparently haven’t seen each other in 4 years and Velvet is now getting on with her life. To complicate matters, Fred learns Velvet occasionally sees his son, and the two have dinner together, which makes Fred jealous, giving him ammunition to use against her. Watching Fred begin as an amiable ex-lover, then over the course of the morning, turn darker and threatening towards Velvet, did make for uncomfortable yet riveting entertainment.
Tucci slid so easily into the role of Fred and gave as good a performance as I’ve ever seen from him. Right from the getgo we know Velvet has a problem with Fred being there, and Eve played this part so naturally. There was no music for the entirety of the film, creating a more realistic scenario, and when the shock ending finally arrives, it was the lack of music that nailed the situation for me. Some Velvet Morning wasn’t an easy film to watch, simply because it was so effective. I can’t recommend this film any higher so make a point of seeing it.
Review by Nav Qateel