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A classic feature of Danny DeVito's (far too few) works as a director is
that they are utterly evil. Cruel. Wicked. Merciless to their characters and
merciless to the viewer. Although this is often combined with slight
exaggeration, it is exactly what I love about them.
After seeing The War of the Roses the second time after having grown a
little older, I still feel that particular satisfaction. But this time,
there are a few more things I think about, a few more questions I ask
myself. For instance: who is the bad guy in the film? Who is `to blame'? And
although it's clear that the Roses both have extremely unmoveable and
stubborn characters, which partly leads to the catastrophe, I came to the
conclusion that Barbara is the driving force of the whole divorce story. She
announces her wish to divorce upon grounds that are not quite convincing.
Maybe people who do not like Michael Douglas can sympathize with her but her
reasons are not fair. She invariably follows her instinct without paying any
respect to other people. Kathleen Turner portrays her most believably in
this insufferable phase.
Oliver Rose, on the other hand, is one of those people who are proud of
doing everything in a perfectly correct manner. He is therefore very
sensitive and easily confronted if one doesn't acknowledge his correct
behavior. He then becomes completely helpless and unable to react properly.
That makes him an ideal `victim' to Barbara's striking egoism.
I'm mentioning this only because it is a new aspect I found during second
viewing, and I am sure it was also DeVito's intention to develop characters
like this, so for him, the turbulent divorce story is not just a parable on
how stupid people are in general. He of course reserved the best role in the
film for himself he is the wise man who tells the parable and who emerges
victorious in the end.
The War of the Roses with its merciless cruelness remains one of my
favourite comedies of all time.
Tags for The War of the Roses Full Movie
, Kathleen Turner
, Marianne Sägebrecht
, Michael Douglas
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