O@tAmazon:The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Strange but weirdly enjoyabe little film for cat fanciers by Amazon Prime.

The true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, psychedelic pictures transformed the public’s perception of cats forever. Set in the early 1900s, we follow Wain as he seeks to unlock the “electrical” mysteries of the world and, in so doing, to better understand his own life and the profound love he shared with his wife Emily Richardson (Claire Foy).

My frens, I’ve just watched the weirdest little film just yesterday. I still don’t know what to think about it,chow much of it was autobiographical and how much was fabrication. And, much worse, I can’t decide if I was rightfully bored or fascinated by it.

This is one of those movies they invented the term arthouse for, super duper cinematography and dreamlike production, questionable dramaturgy. In any way, this was pretentious up the wazoo, something I usually hate but still I couldn’t avert my gaze, was sitting through it like a hypnotized bunny.

I don’t even know if I had fun while watching TELoLW. Guess I did although this ain’t my sort of movie. Only towards the end I became twitchy and hoped for it to end soon.

The cast was great: Cucumberbatch (who proved that he can carry a movie), Foy (who was just so darling and lovely) were a super leading couple; Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones, Olivia Colman, Taika Waititi, Richard Ayoade and others, in very small roles completed the first rate ensemble. They were as quirky and eccentric and airy as the film was.

Ok, I guess we need to talk about cats now, don’t we? The cat fanciers among you no doubt know of the artist Louis Wain, “The man who catapulted cats into the mainstream”. We all have at least seen some of his drawings. I must admit they’re not my style and I never knew they were done by what was probably the first cat fancier in the western world. Before Wain cats were just cats, farm animals, kept around to keep the rodent population at bay. Nobody thought of them as pets. That folly started with Louis Wain, a man who was indeed not just a little cuckoo but certifiably krayzee!

But even I gotta admit I’d had loved to get more of the cats and his paintings in this movie. I wanted to see more of any occasions that inspired Wain to draw cats and see more of the resulting paintings. And what was up with the 4×3 aspect ratio? I can understand when directors and cameramen choose it to create a claustrophobic atmosphere, but here, in Louis Wain I expected an ultrawide aspect, wide as Wain’s spirit and fantasy. And it would have greatly benefitted the wonderful photography of this movie. Can anybody explainify the 4×3 decision for stoopit me?

CONCLUSION: Artsy fartsy, a tiny bit too long, never gets to the point – exactly like Wain’s life – but strangely entertaining and a wonderfully caleidoscopic biopic of an unusual man leading an unconventional life.

This is also one of the many movies which were caught out in the global pandemic of unknown origin, was saved by Bezos’ money and ended up on Bezos’ streaming service. So me and millions of other film fanatics in possession of a good VPN can now enjoy it for free. =^.^=

TELoLW deserved better!


    • Zacly. Seen the pics, found them kitschy. Never knew they were from the olden times when this style of painting was fresh and new.


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