This cutting edge and sometimes controversial director/writer Neil LaBute has stayed true to form with his sometimes cruel and quite realistic new film “Some Velvet Morning.” LaBute, known for “In the Company of Men” (1997) which won the Sundance Filmmaker’s trophy, tackled two misogynistic co-workers with heartless realism. After a couple of diversions, LaBute directed another winner, “Nurse Betty,” a sweet and charming piece by comparison. Now, with “Some Velvet Morning,” we have the cynical, chauvinist, male character back as the lead. The realistic conversation, almost reminiscent of a David Mamet play in style, was not always pretty or comfortable to watch, but seems to be LaBute’s signature.
From the moment Tucci’s character, Fred, was on the scene, tension and apprehension were in the air. Fred, with suitcases in hand, waited impatiently at the door of his former lover/hired prostitute. As Velvet opened the door, more than the look of surprise crossed her face. Was it fear? Trepidation? Excitement? Fred was then reluctantly let in with Velvet expressing her desire to leave for an appointment soon. The two moved from room to room, as Fred shared more from his life and what has happened in the last four years. The push and pull these two had on each other was from a very unhealthy past relationship. The tension built as we saw Fred become more and more anxious over trivial issues as well as monumental ones. A fear for Velvet’s safety was eminent as Fred became more verbally abusive, but in a controlled, condescending and manipulative way. It was difficult and stressful to watch this rather fast-paced and rigorous verbal workout. The intensity with each and every scene was continually amplified until I truly wanted to leave. But I didn’t. I’m so glad that I waited for the train to hit me at the end! This 2-person film could have been a play on a stage. The film took place in a few different rooms of a beautiful townhouse in NYC. The entire film was a conversation between Tucci and Eve’s characters. It felt as if you were following them from room to room and sitting in a corner chair as the scene unfolded before you. Stanley Tucci showed that he can be quite brilliant as the egotistical, control freak who forced his views and opinions onto those around him. He also seemed like a lost soul at one moment and then an uncaring bastard in the next. Alice Eve was equally extraordinary. She pulled you into her character and situation. Even though you couldn’t relate to her chosen profession, you still cared about her. You identified with her as a female. She, too, was simply brilliant in her role.
“Some Velvet Morning” was about an unbalanced relationship that tipped way too far in one direction. It took a harsh look at one of the oldest professions in the world: prostitution. No matter if it’s a street corner or a penthouse apartment, it’s still prostitution. It was also a relentless examination into how women value themselves and allow others to dictate their worth. This movie kept me glued to the screen, but it also made me incensed. The emotional roller coaster ride was almost more than this merry-go-round rider could handle. But with every roller coaster ride, it does eventually end, and the feeling of deliverance at the end was completely worth it! But you better hold on because, trust me, it’ll knock your socks off!