It's like a 90 minute ticking time-bomb that’s ready to explode at any moment, and in the end it does detonate.
Some Velvet Morning
Considering Neil LaBute has a theatrical background as a former playwright, it’s no surprise that Some Velvet Morning feels like a filmed stage play. The production consists of a single location with just two cast members who do little more than talk (nay, fight) with each other for 90 minutes. All that’s missing is a closing curtain and a final bow from the actors. LaBute purposely designs the film to be an uncomfortable watch, especially with the dark twist at the end, but it’s wildly entertaining nonetheless.
A beautiful blonde woman (Alice Eve) who goes by the name Velvet is listening to classical music on her couch before being interrupted by the doorbell. Much to her surprise, the man at her door is her ex-lover Fred (Stanley Tucci). Judging by the luggage Fred is hauling, Velvet presumes he’s just stopping by before a flight. But he breaks the news that he just left his wife of 24 years, though his motives for stopping by are not clear. She constantly checks her watch and mentions that she has to leave soon but Velvet shows no real intention of actually doing so.
The two bicker back and forth like a married couple for the reminder of the film, slowly revealing more of their history and personalities in the process. Fred acts like a wildcard. One moment he seems calm and collected and the next is verbally abusing Velvet like a misogynist control freak. But she is no saint herself. Velvet confesses that she is having an affair with Fred’s son as if it were no big deal.
Some people might be understandably put off by the lack of context throughout the film. Inside stories and jokes are exchanged about people that we don’t have the slightest clue about. Even the main characters are nearly void of exposition. But that’s precisely the point. LaBute provides only enough information to keep audiences guessing before eventually pulling the rug from beneath them.
There is something slightly off about Some Velvet Morning. The dialog is incredibly awkward and bizarre, yet that’s what makes the film so interesting. Every so often a wrench gets thrown into the mix, like when Fred suddenly demands sexual favors or when Velvet makes up an inappropriate story about how she got her name. These random outbursts keeps the viewer on guard and to pay extra close attention to what happens next.
Some Velvet Morning is like a 90 minute ticking time-bomb that’s ready to explode at any moment, and in the end it does detonate. Despite the lack of action involved with two people having one long conversation, the film is somehow completely hypnotic. The twist at the end will be a slap in the face to some and will undoubtedly spawn debates. But most importantly the film invokes a reaction–whether or not it’s a pleasant one is irrelevant. Although the shocking ending in Some Velvet Morning could be considered gimmicky, it does explain everything that precedes it. Just don’t expect to cheer when the credits roll.