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Film Review: Boulevard


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A sincere and heart-wrenching performance turns this predictable story of coming-out into the elegant swan song Robin Williams so deserved.

In his final lead role Robin Williams adopts the character of Nolan, a middle-aged banker whose monotnous lifestyle, failing marriage and repressed homosexuality have finally driven him to become infatuated with a young male prostitute by the name of Leo. 

A richly layered performance from Williams, depicting an enigmatic chatacter, is the only aspect of this movie which saves it from fading into insignifance. Attempting to avoid overdramatising the story, director Dito Montiel takes what could have been a truly striking screenplay by Douglas Soesbe and dilutes it in its entirety. From the overcompensated role of Nolan to the overly enigmatic character that is love interest Leo, Notiel manages to take this film in entirely the wrong direction.

From the moment of first meeting Leo it is clear that Williams' performance will be the redeeming feature of ths movie; his at times platonic, fatherly approach to Leo is cleverly juxtaposed with the clear internal struggle which he is engaging with as a repressed homosexual. There is no spark of romance between these two struggling characters at any point however, with emotive moments feeling wholeheartedly and transparently scripted rather than felt by the viewer.

The role of Nolan's wife is played softly by Kathy Baker and excluding Williams' own role is the only other solid piece of acting in the movie. She capitvates the audience throughout her short time on screen and her character exudes the air of passionless domesticity which marriage to banker Nolan has created. Her pain at Nolan's eventual decision to accept his true identity and move on with his life is a moment of sincerity paralelled only by Robin William's role within the movie.

While often flat and lacking creative depth, Boulevard, released one year after Robin Williams' suicide, will resonate with viewers who are familiar with the great actors own personal struggles. Littered with moments of briliance harking back to Williams' days as an Oscar winning actor at the peak of his career, he is still unable to rescue the movie in its entirety.

Sculpting a truly complex performance Williams makes Boulevard his swan song, ending a bright career on an elegant yet ever so slightly bittersweet note. 

Boulevard is released in UK cinemas on 8th April.

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