Quick check in re: Brain on Fire

This afternoon I saw Brain on Fire with my friend (with Q&A afterwards with the film’s director, Gerard Barrett). Armitage is third billed and while it was clearly a supporting role, he gets plenty of screen time and has at least three, possibly four, really convincing scenes. The movie is not even remotely Oscar material but it’s not as bad as some of the responses had led me to fear. I don’t see this hugely helping his career (or, frankly, being all that widely distributed on movie screens — but I can’t see how there won’t be a DVD and or streaming possibilities) but it shouldn’t harm it either. Most Armitage fans will probably love this role — he looks fantastic, he’s very convincing and also at least somewhat multi-faceted as Susannah Cahalan’s father — and he gets a lot of closeups (approaching a disproportional number), watching him react to events.

I will write more about this soon, as I have several pages with description, notes and reflections I made while watching; unfortunately I have to drive back home from Toronto tomorrow, so it might be Monday.

Hope all is well with everyone.

~ by Servetus on September 18, 2016.

35 Responses to “Quick check in re: Brain on Fire”

  1. Great to hear. Everyone wants every single detail and over-analysis. Drive Safe.

  2. Thanks, goodnight, have a save drive.

    • Sorry, I was falling asleep when I heard your chime, and read it quickly. That is all great news. I’m so glad you had a positive reaction. We had already heard that he had a good amount of screen time, but not all the reaction shots. I’m looking forward to it now, as a possibly more enjoyable experience, rather than just needing to watch it. Anticipating your full report. Drive safely, make a few fun stops, play frivolous a little longer.

  3. Reblogged this on Armitage Agonistes and commented:

    Servetus’s first thoughts on Brain On Fire

  4. Thank you, Serv, for this short post! Looking forward to your detailed analysis. Have a safe drive.

  5. Fantastic, I can hardly wait to read more! Too bad the weather in Toronto was so dreary today.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to put this up and safe travels home.

  7. Now, that’s the firdt time I ah e heard sething positive from a credible source. Screentime sounds good – and while I am. Ot madly into medical drama, I really do look forward to seeing RA play the father of a grown-up daughter. I hope this will make it into the cinema.

    • I don’t think you will like this film, especially. If you expect something within the parameters of Barrett’s oeuvre up till now, this is not going to make you happy.

  8. Can hardly wait for your analysis! Never know how much you can trust the critics- many times I disagree with them in fact. =)

  9. Thank you for theis overview, sounds good. I realy hope for a DVD.

  10. Safe journey home Serv. Looking forward to hearing all about your travels. xxx

  11. Ich bin schon sehr auf deine genaueren Ausführungen gespannt und hoffe doch, dass es eine DVD geben wird. Bei solch eher rührseligen Filmen kümmere ich mich nicht weiter um die Kritiken. Wenn sie etwas für zu schmalzig halten, ist mir das je nach Stimmungslage gerade recht. Und RA als Papa klingt verlockend.

    • I thought this was a smart comment. People who watch “disease of the week” and this kind of tragic film genre expect certain kinds of emotional buttons to be pushed.

  12. Thanks for this, Serv. Waiting for your complete analysis because I know you will have been observant and honest. One sort-of-kind review can be found by We Live Entertainment on YT which appreciates RA’s efforts and which seems to echo some of your comments in the above overview.

    • Should I have included the detail that he holds his fork in his left hand while eating? Sometimes this detail obsession is a real curse.

  13. A 12 hour drive. That’s just brutal. Take care and drive safe. Looking forward to hearing more about the movie.

  14. Thanks for your quick update, it’s being said that the filming only took 16 days, that’s kind of scary. Drive safely.

    • I thought about that — I think it showed. Not so much in the final execution of the film, but in that I think some of the “strident” scenes might have been played more subtly had the actors had more time to get to know each other and think about the general arc of the film.

  15. Phew. Glad to hear it’s not as bad as all that. And lots of Armitage is a bonus. I’m thinking I’ll read the book again before the movie hopefully is released. I hope they did the medical mystery justice. The live stream press conference on Friday was interesting. Susanna Cahalan saying that for some things she can’t remember first-hand, she now remembers Chloe’s portrayal of them as if the memory was her own really struck me. Looking forward to your detailed analysis. Enjoy the drive home.

    • I think if the medical mystery was your favorite part of the book, the film will disappoint somewhat. They really simplify this story in line with their goal of making the disease understandable.

  16. Safe travels. Thanks for the update 🙂

  17. Merci d’avoir pris du temps pour nous écrire, à chaud, vos premières impressions. J’espère que ce film ne finira pas en “téléfilm de la ménagère”, visible en après-midi les jours de semaine. Bon voyage de retour!

    • I think that’s a risk. But if that happens, it will be better than most of the ones you see. I’ve been a bit mystified by the critiques that see this as only a “disease of the week” film — to me, that genre has a lot more explicit appeal to the emotions o fthe viewer than this one makes.

  18. Safe travels. Look forward to more. 🙂

  19. So glad you saw it and look forward to your more thorough review. I knew it could be no worse than Into the Storm, although that film earned 3X its cost to make, so it was a financial success if not an artistic one. I expect Brain on Fire could be a financial winner too thanks to Mr. A’s fandom. I’m not a fan of Moretz and chuckled at The Guardian’s review of her “slightly over-emphatic form of acting that makes the breakdown scenes here feel false”.
    What The Guardian described as “her precocious nature and startling maturity” as a child actor, I always found to be another example of another young snooty irritating brat actor. So I gagged when I heard she was in the movie but am excited to see Mr. A on the big screen again.

    • 🙂 J’aurai bien aimé voir Saoirse Ronan dans ce rôle de malade. Son jeu d’actrice est très particulier.

    • I spent a lot of time wondering which fim was better, this or ITS. They are really different insofar as there’s no CGI at all in BOF; it is a much smaller story and that, I think, is decisive for me. I enjoyed ITS for what it was: a popcorn disaster film. And I loved those scenes with Armitage rescuing his son from under the water. There’s more to like here, though.

  20. […] the film and the camaraderie of the festival, despite the damp wait. I meant what I said when I remarked earlier that it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d read. And yet the film is problematic. I think the standing ovation Barrett describes was given for […]

  21. Thanks for checking and the quick first impression! Look forward to reading more!

  22. Thanks for all of the supportive comments — that I knew you were cheering me on / looking for my commentary was a definite incentive to write about this as quickly as I could.

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