For your Consideration
is the latest film from the comic director Christopher Guest, focusing on the run up to an Oscars ceremony the film charts the way that a small family comedy is turned by speculation that three members of the cast may be up for an oscar into a carnival of the grotesque. Taking as its centre the egos of the individuals involved it casts a remorselessly cynical light on modern day Hollywood- the way that films are made, publicised and treat those that act within them.
Christopher Guest has pioneered the style of film that most people know today as the mockumentary- and sections of this film are filmed in this very style. He has inspired people like Ricky Gervais in England to follow in his footsteps. For your consderation follows in this trend- like most of Guest's films it provokes titters of recognition and embarrassed amusement rather than belly laughs- in doing this it is frighteningly successful.
Firstly because one of its targets is egoism. The actors in For your Consideration know that the small film they are making- Home for Purim- is their last chance to get a place in the Hollywood aristocracy. Desperation and jealousy proleferate. The desperation provokes some intrinsically comic moments- an older woman dresses in a ludicrously low cut dress and puts lipstick on in a way that would shame make up artists for the Penguin in a Batman movie- her smile becomes painfully vampiric. A younger woman consents to be interviewed by the lads mag editors of California about whether she will be topless or not in the movie. An older man raps with some black kids on the set of a morning TV show- he pretends to be cool and with the kids whilst transparantly not being so.
The mechanisms that provoke them into these acts are lampooned as effectively- Hollywood producers are shown as useless hands that give money, agents as impotent and powerless and film sets as chaotic and bitchy. Executives are shown as grasping and after the money without a thought for artistic integrity. Writers as meek pathetic creatures. And directors- well the director of the film is summed up by the fact that wherever he goes he consumes vast numbers of crisps, chomping with his mouth open and his gut hanging out.
Worse maybe than the Hollywood characters are the journalists and again Guest shows us the profession at its worst- sneaking into people's houses and places of work- huimiliating them on camera and not giving a single indication of care. Perhaps most wonderfully there is a moment of true kitsch when two reporters dare to guess the names of the oscars by dressing up in sub-Aladinesque garb and holding a crystal ball. They really are rather wonderfully horrific.
Overall the film keeps you sliding over all this gloom by the fact that it is actually funny- it isn't as funny as some of Guest's other films but there are distinct moments when I laughed- and its definitely worth seeing. It is depressing as soon as you think about it- but keep it unexamined and like life it flows over you showing all the absurdity of human arrogance without inviting you to probe further to the depths where comedy and tragedy meet. Its a good film and you should see it.