Raymond and Ray

Raymond and Ray

Apple TV kept popping this one up, and I like the lead actors, plus the trailer suggested a hint of dark comedy. It was immensely satisfying as a light fluff piece. Stars Ethan Hawk and Ewan McGregor. There’s also an international cast with some note, but I know next to nothing about that. Recognized faces from other places?

The premise is straightforward enough, two half brothers are tasked with burying their shared father, and the exploration of the characters, the mess of a deceased man’s life, and the intricate web of lies we all live. Elegiac without eulogizing, timely and yet timeless, too, just a totally bizarre piece of accessible cinema that is more a romp, but hard to imagine, and I would suggest, dark comedy.

It was listed as “comedy, drama.”

The dead man, their father? He was apparently was a lover and father of many, with a number of sons showing up for the funeral. The imagery explores the depth of emotion, and the last rites as a person passes from this plane to the next plain of existence. Or whatever happens when we die — there might be a hint of a ghost.

For me, it was a perfect streaming piece, pausing to go to the bathroom a few times since I’d wrapped up a long day on the phone, and I drank too much coffee. Also: I laughed at a number of places that were probably wildly inappropriate, but in one understandings of the plot, that’s part of it.

There are suitable, barely discernible nuances the various performances, which makes it that much more fun. Very limited sex and violence, and more about the way the dead torture the living, what we leave behind, and what that means.

It is not for everyone. I was raised with a heady dose of Southern Gothic looming over my head, family and all, so the intertwined, misanthropic tones fit — delights me.

Part of the plot is about the sons being tasked with the job of digging the grave for their father, and turns out that their father was rather profligate in his ways.

Raymond and Ray

I kept thinking about T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” the epic poem. One section is called “The Burial of the Dead,” but from “The Fire Sermon?”

“But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.”

    Eliot, T.S. “The Waste land” Lines 186-7.

In the last months, as an undercurrent and diversion to the politics? I’ve found repeated notices and references to Eliot’s poem. As long as one will reverentially mock death, or make it a centerpiece? The poem just hitting its centennial publication mark?

color TV

color TV

The bleakest of comedy and laughing at the face of death, and then, the deceased, leaving behind such paltry life, the two half-brothers sifting then digging through that life?

Panned by the movie critics and not doing well in commercial release, as a piece of art, the movie moved me in strangely funny ways, but I’m looking squarely at end-of-life issues at the moment, so yes, I thought it was faintly, quaintly funny.

The two lead actors were really great in dour, understated manners.

And funny, really funny.

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
  • Camera: iPad Pro (11-inch)
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 3mm
  • ISO: 50
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s

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