The Moderns

The Moderns
The Moderns

Nick Hart, a struggling young artist in the middle of Paris must find ways to make ends meet, even if they are illegal. While trying to stay a float, an old flame resurfaces leaving him in a battle for love: even if it gets him killed.

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The Moderns is a 1988 classic about art, betrayal, love and the freedom that came with living in central Paris in 1929. Nick Hart, played by Keith Carradine, is a young American artist living in Paris, France around 1930. He is a struggling artist who finds a job working as a caricature for a local newspaper. Hart is not part of the “high society” in Paris, he has no money, but still has the motivation to do what he loves: painting. With the help of his friend, played by Wallace Shawn, Hart is introduced to an older woman with an intriguing job offer. Claiming he is, “unemployable”, Hart becomes the center figure of a forgery scheme from the wealthy woman, Nathalie de Ville, played by Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin. Hart must duplicate three original paintings so the woman can fool her husband before she leaves him for America. Hart, being an extremely talented artist, takes up this offer in order to make a little money.

The main plot takes a bit of a turn early on however, when Hart sees a ghost from his past. His, still married too, wife, Rachel, shows up across the bar with her new husband, Bertram Stone. Stone is a powerful, rich businessman with an eye for art. Stone is also extremely dangerous; as the rumor around Paris is that he’s killed a man. Throughout the movie, Hart and Rachel begin seeing each other and the love they once had starts to rekindle. As the movie continues, the relationship between Rachel and Hart grows more complicated as Mr. Stone becomes involved in the forgery scheme, unknowingly, due to buying the originals but later believing they are fakes. This turns into a major conflict between Stone and Hart, and Rachel believes that Stone will come searching for the couple and ruin their lives, or worse; kill them both.

This romance story is both intriguing and satisfying. Being a lover of all things history, the 1930’s scene in central Paris is pretty neat. The clothing, the cars, the art; it is nice representation of the time period. Keith Carradine’s depiction of troublesome artist Nick Hart is extremely well done. Hart is an extremely talented artist; but shows true charisma in his devout love towards Rachel. He fights for her honor, (literally, in a boxing ring, where Stone demolishes him in the second round) and tries to do all that he can to keep her safe. Rachel has her own set of issues, however. From alcoholism, to promiscuity, Linda Fiorentino portrays Rachel as a troubled woman who lives in the moment and thinks about the consequences of her actions later.

Today, “modern” movies are full of bright visuals, special effects and epic CGI, (Computer Generated Imagery). The Moderns is a great look at the movies before special effects and CGI played a major factor in film. Many scenes are in black and white, then transitioning to color, giving it that 1930’s feel. Luckily, I have the Blu-Ray copy, which, one can only assume, is a much higher quality than when the original was released in 1988.

Menu Options: This has your typical features. Play from the beginning, scene selections and special features options.

Special Features: The movie has been re-mastered in a 2K format from the original film in order to have a better visual. The Blu-Ray disk also includes brand new interviews with the director Alan Rudolph, producer Carolyn Pfeiffer, and Nick Hart himself, Keith Carradine.