Paul Morrison’s curdled cheesecake, Wondrous Oblivion, might have gone down easier if it weren’t so honeyed, or if it had actually come out of a 1960s oven. This is not to say that we can’t stand to benefit from films made today about the racial injustices of yesteryear, only that their style should be consistent with the mood of the time they depict or serve as an intelligent response to it. Morrison simplifies his two overriding themes—family values and racism—by thinking about them in TV movie-of-the-week terms, mixing Stanley Kramer schmaltz with Danny Boyle chic, a lethal combination insofar as he is not as compassionate as Kramer or as ironic as Boyle. Millions was no masterpiece but its lacquered surface was a sweet reflection of its main character’s spiritual outlook. Wondrous Oblivion‘s Candyland glaze also makes sense, in the sense that it evokes the utter cluelessness of its main character, David Wiseman (Sam Smith), a pre-teen Jewish boy living in South London who learns how to play cricket from the black man (Delroy Lindo) whose family moves in next door, but it sends out the wrong message: that racial progress—and, by extension, interracial bonking—is made permissible by the socio-political naiveté of the young. Ignorance isn’t bliss and neither are useless films like this one.
- Palm Pictures
- 106 min
- Paul Morrison
- Paul Morrison
- Sam Smith, Delroy Lindo, Emily Woof, Stanley Townsend, Angela Wynter, Leonie Elliott
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