Barney's Version

In our cinemas from January 28th, here's a Golden Globe winning movie that could easily slip past your radar. But I sincerely hope it doesn't.

'Barney's Version' tells the story of Barney Panofsky, from his young days as a hanger-on to a bohemian, arty crowd of Americans in Rome, through his life as a TV producer and on to a touching, heart-breaking conclusion.

His "version" relates to the fact that Barney has been accused of the long-past, suspected murder of a friend, and as Barney's mind wanders, we wander with him.

Barney is trouble. He lives life at full volume, rarely filtering his thoughts, emotions or desires. As we meet him, he is drunkenly needling his ex-wife's husband about naked photos of their mutual love, as he sits alone with his whiskey, cigars and memories. We then follow him back to the heady days of his 20's in Rome - and memories of vespas, painters, passion, marriage and suicide.

As Barney's story unfolds further, we meet the love of his life, at the least convenient moment imaginable, and witness his simultaneous courtship of his paramour, destruction of his marriage, and cataclysmic collapse of his greatest friendship.

Barney is a despicable, adorable, irascible and incorrigible. He's a character seemingly almost devoid of redeeming features, and yet Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti gives him a life, a sense of passion, humour and extremes, which simply will not allow you to despise him. He destroys almost everything and everyone in his life, and yet is somehow irresistible.

'Barney's Version' is petite and yet grand in scale; stunning to look at, and yet often difficult to watch. I think you might just love it.


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