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Flashbacks of a Fool, a film inspired by a song

In 2008 Bond actor Daniel Craig starred in a film called Flashbacks of  a Fool, about a failing Hollywood actor (Joe) who returns to England after the death of a childhood friend.

Except it is not really about that. It is about regret and it struck a chord with me, not only because its nuanced, open approach to its subject, but also because the film is inspired by a song that is also one of my favourite’s, If there is something from Roxy Music’s first and most experimental album. And it is perhaps no coincidence that director Baillie Walsh, who is also a music video director, is the same generation as me and, it seems, shares some of my taste in music.

The film was critically panned on release and scores just 38% on Rotten Tomatoes; I feel it deserves better, with some magical moments including a wonderful scene with Felicity Jones as young Ruth, Joe’s first love, a scene which really is a music video but one into which Walsh threw all his passion for the song.

It would be wrong though just to watch this scene and think that you have seen the best of the movie. There is more to enjoy; sharply-observed humour (such as lunch with Joe and his agent at a smart LA restaurant), and other scenes which evoke the agony caused by humans behaving badly.

The closing scene returns to the same song and is again full of passion for what is lost and what might have been.

The film is what you get when someone with the means to make a film reflects on a song he loves and what it means to him. I am not sure how often this has been done; but in this case it worked for me.

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