In Review: Seduced and Abandoned (2013)

by Mairéad Roche on 31/10/2013

seduced and abandoned

Writer and director James Toback (Bugsy, 1991) has combined forces with actor Alec Baldwin in their (probable) mockumentary Seduced & Abandoned as they go to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, the 65th, in order to garner finance for their proposed political erotic Middle Eastern set film with the working title Last Tango in Tikrit . The title of the suspected mockumentary, Seduced and Abandoned , refers to how Baldwin describes the nature of the film industry; like a fickle lover, it can envelope you but then just as easily reject you. Yet film makers, actors, investors and audiences still keep going back for more.

Toback and Baldwin move between one luxurious French Riviera venue to another; be it a five star hotel room, lavish party, yacht  or red carpet. But amongst all the luxury, hard nosed business is being conducted with billionaire financiers and movie moguls regularly petitioned for money, talking frankly and completely unsentimentally about the nature of the movie business.

The documentary clearly shows that the craft of film making is all well and good, but in the end, someone has to pay for it. Seduced & Abandoned works best when the Toback and Baldwin are engaged in interviewing their peers in the form of directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola and actors Diane Kruger, Jessica Chastain and a ‘so hot right now’ Ryan Gosling. None of the interviewees have any illusions about the nature of the business, while still choosing to lend their talents to it. Gosling and Bérénice Bejo in particular, who inhabit the higher echelons of the acting parthenon, are completely honest with real self-awareness at the finite nature of their positions, especially Bejo, being a woman of a certain age in Hollywood.

Seduced & Abandoned does run overly long however and becomes a little too indulgent: Toback and Baldwin clearly had a good time happily snacking their way through all the lavish parties. Also, Baldwin’s penchant for love-in actorly praise – if in jest is entertaining – but his seriousness at such times is never clear and therefore can be somewhat wearisome.

Mairéad has awarded Seduced and Abandoned (2013) three Torches of Truth 

3 torches cropped

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