It’s truly a treat to see the late, great Robin Williams on our screen, especially if it’s new material, material that would further the actor’s legacy as one of our time’s most influential artists. His work comes most notable in a comedic form but in a blue moon he created art so profound that it became legendary in its own right, for example Dead Poet’s Society and Good Will Hunting. Boulevard, however, has Williams tackling uncharted territory.
Living life mid-way, devoted husband Nolan is in a marriage of convenience but after an innocent encounter with a hustler on the streets he’s forced to come to terms with his secret life.
Williams’ repertoire highlights a range of charismatic smorgasbord of characters, though Boulevard details one that parallels the overwhelming sadness of that he played in What Dreams May Come. Barely on the surface though, he’s written and demonstrated with a careful and perfectly tender-like quality that it immediately materialises as one of Williams’ kindest characters to date. Instead of allowing others to lean on him, sprouting encouragement and an affable, good-natured approach to uplifting others (the Williams we all know and deeply love), Nolan is a character that exudes kindness to all, though living a life with an impending reality check provides the actor with enough substance to relay a resonating, re-discovery of life.
The script, focusing solely on the concept of discovering ones self, stretches further than Nolan. His wife, unbeknownst to his change of character and random disappearing acts, must deal with a now-absent husband, this time physically as much as he was already emotionally vacant. It’s an upsetting reality and played with superior poise by the wonderful Kathy Baker, her character by an uncompromisingly heartbreaking situation.
Boulevard carries heft. It’s entirely character based and Williams kills the show. His legacy lives on and his talents are endless, and whilst the film in general doesn’t tread new ground or prove overly flashy, it’s a dominating and courageously real effort. The film combines genuine heartache with an ultimately resonating finale, when life brims with excitement and new prospects.
Dir: Dito Montiel
Scr: Douglas Soesbe
Cast: Robin Williams, Kathy Baker, Roberto Aguire
Prd: Ryan Belenzon, Mia Chang, Jeffrey Gelber
Music: Jimmy Haun, David Wittman
DOP: Chung-hoon Chung
Runtime: 88 minutes
Boulevard is out on DVD and Blu-ray from 27 June