Genre: Drama / Comedy
Director: Richard J. Lewis
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman, Dustin Hoffman
Duration: 132 min.
The picaresque and touching story of the politically incorrect, fully lived life of the impulsive, irascible and fearlessly blunt Barney Panofsky.
Barney's Version is a dark comedy directed by Richard J. Lewis based on a novel of the same name by Canadian Author Mordecai Richler, and premiered in competition at the 2010 Venice International Film Festival. It won seven Genies at the 31st Genie Awards (2011), including Best Actor (Paul Giamatti), Best Supporting Actor (Dustin Hoffman), and Best Supporting Actress (Minnie Driver)
Richard J. Lewis does a decent job here, but as his television background shows, the direction and cinematography are bland and unremarkable. Also the story that spans four decades rambles a bit too long and suffers from too many flashbacks and subplots. The makeup was very good though, and should be commended for their work in convincingly aging the actors thirty odd years older.
However, it is the cast that carries this film. Anchored by another exceptional performance from Paul Giamatti, the master of playing a character who is both charming and despicable, and he stays on the mark through every sarcastic line of his dialog. He is supported wonderfully by legend Dustin Hoffman as his truculent ex-cop father and has some of the funniest scenes in the film, Minnie Driver as his beautiful but unbelievably annoying second wife, and Rosamund Pike in a touching role as his third wife and true love of his life.
One interesting note of trivia, there are several cameo appearances throughout the film by a number of Canadian filmmakers including David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, and Atom Egoyan, and also actor Paul Gross in a comedic nod to his former TV show Due South.