I'm still in shock from my viewing of JCVD last night. It will be hard to see a film at TIFF this year that is better than this. But hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised. But could a film starring Jean Claude Van Damme as himself really be that good? Yes, its that good.
From the 5 minute, one take, opening action scene to the tear jerking climatic 7 minute monologue, Jean Claude delivers. The film works not only because the acting is top notch, the script and direction clever and original, and not only because you identify and empathize with Jean Claude in the movie, but also because you empathize with Jean Claude the man. And while this is indeed his comeback movie, this could be the peak of his serious acting career. Maybe.
You see, during that monologue, which he wrote himself, and which he literally pours he real heart and soul into, he isn't so much acting, as he is giving a candid diatribe about the ups and downs of his life, addressing not a character in the film but the audience directly. Its sort of like those reality show monolgues when people breakdown, spewing their guts, crying, venting. While there are ALOT of comparisons between this and 'Being John Malkovich', it should be noted that it also shares ALOT in common with 'Funny Games', from the breaking of narrative as Jean Claude speaks to the audience, down to the cathartic action ending that we are quickly denied. And while this makes THIS movie amazing, it maybe hard for Jean Claude to capture that same emotion that he did here. Its easy for him to play himself as long as he holds nothing back, but if it comes down to playing someone else, well, that remains to be seen.