Elegy Isabel Coixet

Elegy Isabel Coixet
Elegy tells the story of David Kapesh, an author, academic and minor television personality who is also an enthusiastic womanizer. The early part of the film initiates us into his routine, which involves throwing a cocktail party for his students after grading is done, at which point he moves in for the kill on the particular young female who has caught his fancy. At one such party, he arranges a date with Consuela (Penelope Cruz), who unexpectedly becomes the love of his life, the object of his obsession, a belated rite of passage for this aged, overgrown adolescent. Kapesh is played by Ben Kingsley, in what a decade ago would have seemed like a triumph of off-casting, so closely associated was he with the statesman roles he got for many years following his early career triumph as Gandhi. The fact that he seems just right in the part is a tribute to the versatility he's displayed so prodigiously in the years since his bonkers turn as the terrifying Don Logan in Sexy Beast. He brings his preternatural alertness (and his weird vocal inflections) to the role, and he makes you see how stunted Kapesh is, but also why women would be so drawn to him. Coixet's film relies heavily on Kingsley's excellence. Without him at the centre, it's easy to see how it could have drifted into vagueness. As it is, the film's tone is wobbly and Coixet's grip on the performances is uneven. Particularly problematic is Dennis Hopper, frequently too hammy by half, as Kapesh's poet friend. Cruz brings a delicate touch to her role and obviously looks stunning but the standout performance, beside Kingsley's, is Patricia Clarkson's sexy but astringent turn as Kapesh's sometimes bed partner. Extras consist of a standard-issue making-of documentary and the film's trailer. (Seville)