Behind the Candelabra is the last film from Steven Soderbergh, or at least till he decides to make films again. It’s a biopic of pianist Liberace starring Michael Douglas and it’s almost as bonkers as it sounds. Based on the memoir of Scott Thorson, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, it focuses on his relationship the legend. Of course the source martial is one-sided and the film feels that way for the most part has portraying Liberace as an ageing flamboyant show man jumping to one new young gay man play with and drop for a younger one. So with that in mind, it’s quite well-balanced considering.
The tone of the film is balances itself between a straight up biopic and a satire and the jokes are what make Behind the Candelabra fly. The humour is very character driven with observational gags thrown in. With all the glitz and glam of Liberace’s lifestyle, the comedy lands in such a subtle way that it complements with each other quite well. Oddly enough Douglas is an inspired choice to play Liberace by taking the bull by its horns and just going for it and its a real achievement that he is completely convincing as the man himself. Damon gives a sold as our eyes of the film playing Scott seduced and taken under Liberace’s wing and ends with drug addiction and plastic surgery.
For the most part, Liberace doesn’t come off so well and it feels that the film attempts to make up for that towards the end, one of which is a glossy dreamy end sequence that does seem the cap the film off perfectly. Pact with a great cast featuring Dan Aykroyd as his lawyer, Rob Lowe as a plastic surgeon is hilarious and the sight of Scott Bakula spending half of his time wearing a speedo and porn mustache and a drink in his hand. It is a nice point for Soderbergh to end on, but something tells me it wont be the last time we’ll see a new film from him at some point. Haywire 2 anyone?.