This is a case of a film growing on me. I had watched The Trotsky on the pay per view element of the Tribeca Film Festival after I had come home from a rather mediocre screening. I was in the mood for something more and I decided to splurge. Watching the film at about 1 am I found I was liking the film but I wasn’t loving it. The trouble seemed to be that the film was a little too pre-programmed, much like our hero’s life. I considered the film pretty much cable fodder and a near miss.
Then something happened. The next night I went to see the horror film The Possessed (see yesterdays post) and found I was too haunted by that film to go right to bed. I needed something to clear the mind of the monsters and to that end I put on The Trotsky a second time (thanks to the ability to watch a ppv movie as many times in 24 hours). Surprisingly I found that I liked the film a great deal more than I did before, the result of the things that worked the first time, the characters and the humor they create, over powering the preprogrammed nature of the plot line.
The plot of the film has 17 year old Leon Bronstein going through life convinced that he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. He has a chart on the wall with all of the things that Trotsky did in his life and he makes every effort to live a similar life. Working for his father (whom he calls a fascist) during vacation he organizes a hunger strike and when that fails he tries to get a union started. Leon gets hustled out of there rather quickly. Back at school he begins organizing the students into a union. He also tries to get a former political lawyer, now professor to help him and in the process falls in love with his daughter.
For better of worse how the plot spins out from there you can pretty much guess. I did and it disappointed me the first time because the characters and the humor were so good that to hang them on a worn plot line seemed to do the film a major disservice. This was a film that I wanted to love not like, but the film just wouldn’t let me…
…Then I saw the film a second time and things changed. Sure the film isn’t the be all and end all it could have been, but at the same time it’s a very funny film with warm characters. I liked the people in the film. I like that the humor is character generated and not a series of jokes that are separate and apart from the characters. The jokes work here because its these characters not any random characters. I got a warm fuzzy feeling with the romance between Leon and the older Alexandra. What I found the second time through was that the film’s well worn plot line worked just fine for what the film was doing, it didn’t upon further review, damage the film as badly as I first thought.
Sue me I like the film now. Sure its flawed (the political talk still is a bit much and I still wish it didn’t stay on track so much) but its till an enjoyable two hours of entertainment. Is it going to win any I awards, probably not but I’m guessing it might find a place in your heart. Worth a look.
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