I just watched the last two episodes of Mildred Pierce. It was ... O.K. I 'm afraid that's how I usually feel about Todd Haynes's work. The set design and costumes were meticulous, but the rest was ... ho hum. Especially the too-long segments of Veda singing, or I should say, Evan Rachel Wood lip-synching (real coloratura is opera singer Sumi Jo).
I love Kate Winslet, and I applaud her characterization, but the bottom line is that Mildred is just as big a drip as her awful daughter Veda says she is — I don't care how long-suffering Mildred is. She's pathetic, not sympathetic. Veda is the monster that she helped create. They are two sides of a very bad coin. I'm convinced that no matter how many times they tell each other to "go to hell," ten minutes later Mildred will be full of regret and wanting Veda back. When Veda tires of Monty and dumps him and needs some cash, she'll just worm her way back into Mildred's life — for as long as it suits her.
But enough about the Pierce women. Let's get to Monty, who was truly the only bright point in the washed-out 5-part miniseries affair. Monty Beragon was played by Aussie actor Guy Pearce. He was the only person in the whole production who didn't seem to be playing 1930s-40s dress-up. He really, authentically, seemed to be part of the era, from the way he walked and talked to the way he lounged on the furniture. Someone needs to sign him up to play Errol Flynn's life story immediately, like yesterday, because he perfectly embodied the sexy 30s rake to a T. Wait a minute — apparently he already has played Flynn in a movie, about his early pre-Hollywood years. I'll have to track it down.
Pearce has been on my list of mad crushes for years — hell, I sat through The Time Machine in the theater. I even find him incredibly sexy in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Of course he's insufferable in L.A. Confidential, but in a good way. And Memento is just classic. But he's also been in some unexpected roles, big and small. Two Brothers is an interesting little movie about two tiger cubs that are separated and what becomes of them. He's played Andy Warhol, Houdini and Edward VIII.
I still think Pearce is the perfect age and actor to be doing Flynn's autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways — that 80s TV movie version doesn't count. He does have an upcoming movie, The Wettest County in the World , in which he is co-starring with Gary Oldman, set in the 1930s, Depression-era. That's a start.