Conclusion: Barney's Version isn't an easy movie to sit through, but it's still a pleasure to watch. It's difficult to witness Barney's life crumbling before the camera through various events of both his making and external consequences alike, but it's easy to enjoy Paul Giamatti's wonderful performance.
Excerpt: Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti, Sideways ) is a Canadian television producer who has lived what some might call a full life. We are first introduced to him during the later years of his life, and are given two important facts about him. First, a book has just been published that claims to offer insider details on a murder that Barney supposedly committed many years ago (though he was never officially charged at any point).
Excerpt: The problem with adapting Mordecai Richler’s 1997 novel Barney’s Version to film is the same problem that hits so many book-to-film adaptations: The book gets into the head of a complicated man, while the film merely observes him. The book is a first-person confessional, an explication of the life and philosophy of the eponymous Barney Panofsky, a Jewish Canadian television producer with a checkered love life and a great deal to answer for.
Summary: Without having read Mordecai Richler’s 1997 novel which Barney’s Version is adapted from, it’s still abundantly clear that this long, glossily mounted tearjerker exhibits all the usual problems with paring down 400 pages into an orderly feature film. With its time-jumping flashbacks, and uneven tonal balance that strains to blend soapy melodrama, romantic comedy and murder mystery, it’s an initially engrossing but progressively rambling and schmaltzy film that’s mostly...
Conclusion: While perhaps a touch overlong and with plot strands that don't hang together as well as they might, this is remains a triumph, illuminated by a terrific leading man turn from Paul Giamatti.
Excerpt: "Barney's Version" is a character study covering 30 years of one man's life. Depth is compromised by span when a life - even a fictional one - is featured in a movie-length couple of hours. This is a rambling, uneven and shallow movie held together by strong acting. The comedic story takes an unexpected and solemn turn towards the end, but by then there's not a lot of emotion vested in the outcome for the amiable but self-centred characters.
Summary: Barney leidt een turbulent leven. Als TV-producer is hij professioneel druk in de weer en privé rolt hij van het ene drama in het andere. Als kijker krijgen we een kijkje in de hoogte- en dieptepunten uit zijn leven en worden we meegesleept in een prachtrol van Paul Giamatti, een van zijn beste tot op heden. Hij krijgt daarbij adequaat tegenspel van de rest van de cast in een film die tevens sterk geschreven is.