Louis Wain’s Mad World (2021) – film review

Kittens, leprechauns, buzzards, purrs – there was no shortage of furry friends in Louis Wain’s life. They settled in his house, dominated his painting, stole his heart without wrapping the cotton ball. Will Sharpe’s film could have had more cat content (kotcontent?) – because it’s the little feathers that make the film magical.

Louis Wain is so perceived by friends and strangers – chaotic, strange, confusing in life and in the head. And five sisters, who share a roof over the hero’s head. Although the atmosphere in the crowded and noisy house is similar to “Little Women”, in the chaos, the protagonist finds a specific way of life, similar to his passion for creativity. True to his sketchbook and intuition, Wayne ignores the expelled man. Holding two pencils in his hand at the same time, earning a few pennies to support his family, he frees his living and unfamiliar imagination. The driving force behind his work is the title of “electricity” (the film’s original title is “Louis Wayne’s electric life”), which is understood as the wild vital energy that Wayne notices in the world around him. Although the film sounds simple and moral, this extraordinary power transforms Louis’ love for people, animals and nature, which gives real meaning to his life.

The voice of the omniscient narrator in the film is Olivia Colman, who carelessly tells the story of Wai’s unhappy life. This light story turns the artist’s biography into an elegant and fairy-tale tale for children and adults. And again, a biographical film about Wain, despite its humorous elegance, abundance of colors and textures, is, above all, a drama in which tragedies occur. Unfortunately, Sharpe put on risky so-called accents, he was reluctant to build drama. He pays attention to mourning everywhere, putting aside Wai’s creativity and artistic abilities. Unfortunately, Louis’s “cat” achievements deserve maximum attention.

Sharpe tells the story with a true Andersonist attention to detail. Despite the hardships of life – endless financial and family problems – his world is full of life and sometimes full of colors. The film is full of patterned wallpapers, chic Victorian wardrobe, frames inspired by landscape patterns or surreal, humorous depictions of cats. Even Wai’s playful curls are somewhat associated with Salvador Dali’s silhouette or Wes Anderson’s ubiquitous mustaches at the Grand Budapest Hotel. Visually, Louis Wain’s Crazy World is simply an eye-opening experience – as if the creators were trying to comfort the audience and dry up almost all the tears she shed during the two-hour show.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy, who form a lovely and seductive duo of awkward lovers, are greeted with applause on the screen. They are always like a chased couple floating in the clouds and two halves of the same heart. Cumberbatch, in a completely different role from the film “Dog’s Paws”, emphasizes all the features of his character – shy and somewhat awkward behavior, difficulty in building male-female relationships and extraordinary sensitivity in perceiving the world. to be a sign of mental illness. Finally, Wain revolutionized the thinking of cats, and the British public finally stopped associating only with mouse hunters. Thanks to Louis, the kittens spread their paws and demonstrated their comic and cultural potential to the world. After all, the anthropomorphic images of purr-aristocrats playing drums, drinking champagne and smoking cigars are, after all, the works that created the modern Internet memosphere. Although true cat lovers may feel a little dissatisfied here, the film perfectly captures Wayne’s sensitive and kind attitude towards art and four-legged pets. In this respect, the director pays great attention to the emotional picture of the suffering artist, whose genius is not understood by many. The film portrait of this famous artist is reminiscent of Julian Schnabel’s film “Van Gogh. At the gates of eternity.” For Van Gogh, as well as for Louis Wayne, painting was a kind of self-medication and brought the desired catharsis in moments of suffering.

For Wayne, cats were primarily friends, and this fact is best reflected in the scenes of his “conversations” with furs, reminiscent of parts taken from Mike Mills’s Debutants. Although there is more human pain in the film than the sweetness of a cat, perhaps thanks to “Louis Wayne’s crazy world” the brilliant artist will finally rise a little higher. The resonant “meow” will fill the hearts of all skeptics.

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