There aren’t many modern films with such a high opinion of itself as Listen Up Philip. Sadly, like its self-obsessed titular character, Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman), Alex Ross Perry’s film likes to wallow in its own smug self-satisfaction and pungent aroma. Whilst it doesn’t do self-masturbatory in the same way as Birdman, there’s still the tendency to close up self-reflection and self-absorption.
Philip is a terminally bored and dissatisfied New York writer killing time whilst waiting for his second book to be published. Struggling to write and sleepwalking through an unfulfilling relationship with his girlfriend Ashley (Elizabeth Moss). Desperate for something, he’s handed a lifeline when his idol Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Price) offers him the use of his country home.
Alex Ross Perry uses voiceover which aims for Woody Allen but ends up more Arrested Development (without the laughs), by way of Jean-Luc Godard. Schwartzman is good, but just as he’s beginning to hit his stride the anti-plot comes along and ambushes the scene. A strong cast is badly served by the script and you end up feeling sorry for them as they fumble heroically in the dark, desperately searching for some kind of point.
Special Edition Content:
- New 1080p transfer of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Half Price: A Conversation Between Alex Ross Perry & Sean Price Williams, a 65-minute film created exclusively for this release
- The Making of Listen Up Philip
- Feature-length audio commentary with Alex Ross Perry
- Exclusive interview with designer Teddy Blanks
- Jason (and Sean) vs. the Police
- Deleted scenes
- Theatrical trailer
- 44-Page full-colour booklet featuring a director’s statement; all the Ike Zimmerman book jacket covers seen in the film, accompanied for the first time by the books’ respective synopses written by Perry and Blanks; and behind-the-scenes imagery
Listen Up Philip is released on Dual Format by Eureka Films on Monday.