Picks: Better than Average Fare
Among Giants. England. Dir. Sam Miller. This film began with an intriguing set of relationships, especially the one between Pete Postlethwaite and one of the stars from last year's hit, Hilary and Jackie. The latter plays the leader of an itinerant group of Yorkshire men who find work painting high-tension electrical towers. The men survive early crises and begin to find their rhythm just when a young woman arrives on the scene and asks to join the crew. When the Postlethwaite character and the young woman fall in love, the film stumbles and the director manages to overuse camera movement (romantic circling of the camera) in a climactic scene. Similarly, an earlier scene showing nudity of the main characters is drawn out too long. Suddenly the film becomes a stereotypical menage-a-trois: father and son competing for a young woman. The early English-working-man-bonding-as-a-unit theme drops away, and the film focuses on the young woman's anxieties about commitment. The film is worth seeing, but I was disappointed that it changed course in midstream. Now watching Pete Postlethwaite is another thing. Everything he has done since 1988s Distant Voices, Still Lives has been invigorating and memorable. He has an extraordinary face, and everything about his acting style is credible and convincing.
Autumn Tale. France. Dir. Eric Rohmer. Rohmer is the master of the art of conversation. Characters in his film talk to each other, just as in real life, and the nuances of conversation (especially the nonverbals) are revealed through the camera work. The film is also part of his tales of four seasons. A Tale of Springtime (1992) was a superb film in this cycle, for example. This film is also for an adult audience--as in "mature audience," because the emphasis is on middle-aged love. I was somewhat disappointed in the film because I became interested in the fate of only two of the five main characters. They were a middle-aged woman who had never married (and ran a vineyard) and an older man, divorced, who meets her (in a convoluted "blind date" manner). I wish I had seen more about their lives. They were intriguing characters, partly because both had been duped by either their best friends or by someone who manipulated them cruelly (despite good intentions). Many of the early conversations, between the woman and her best friend (another woman) also failed to interest me. The film only began to catch on after about 45 minutes--too long a time to use up before setting the hook. When the plot machinations finally took place, the film became much more satisfying and complex. Still, I was left feeling a bit flat from this effort.
Being John Malkovich, USA, Dir. Spike Jonze. The trailer for this film was masterful. It included the theme from Brazil, and its emphasis on the strange 7 1/2 floor and the image of the portal into the consciousness of John Malkovich was compelling. Of course, I had to see this film. I remember John Malkovich fondly from his appearance in The Killing Fields (1983), and so I thought this might be a great film. It was a good film, especially the first 30-45 minutes. But then it began to lose interest, especially when the main character's wife went to his boss' home and we learned that the boss has been recycling his consciousness for years and plans to enter John Malkovich's consciousness--along with a number of old people who are going along for the ride. Sorry, but that didn't interest me. Then there's the number one complaint: the film never showed us why being inside John Malkovich would be such a life-changing experience. Well, there was one character who seems to have had that kind of experience--the main character's wife (Cameron Diaz) drops into his consciousness, and suddenly she realizes she is bisexual. Sorry, but that didn't seem very important to me--after all, her character begins as a cipher (flat character) and never shows us the capacity for roundness. But I loved the acting of John Cusack and Cameron Diaz, I loved the Brazil-like set design and the oddity of the portal. The film had a great premise; but I never thought it mined that premise and extracted any treasure.
Blair Witch Project, The. USA. Dirs. Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez. First of all, I wasn't as scared as I thought I was going to be. I think this film was, for the most part, an effective example of horror-movie filmmaking. The absence of any images of the "monster" allowed me to use my imagination. The repeated use of the first-person camera provided an automatic empathy with the three young characters. Switching between the super 8 mm camera and the 16 mm camera (color to black and white) created an interesting texture to the film. As they moved deeper into the woods (and remained lost in the woods), the mysterious clues (piles of stones, ill-fashioned crosses, bundle of twigs wrapped in fabric from one of their shirts) began to increase the tension and anxiety. But the climax of the film was over swiftly and with little further revelation of what had really happened. It's clear that the three become victims of the witch. But we never see a single image (even the most fleeting image) of the witch, and that's one place I think the filmmakers stumble. I kept thinking about Alien, one of the great horror films. In the film we saw fleeting glimpses of the monster--but never enough to realize it entirely (until the last scene). So judging it as a horror film, I don't think it was as powerful as it could have been. About halfway through the film I concluded that the film was less about horror than it was about the dynamics of relationships among generation x-ers. Three young people go out into the woods to make a documentary. Most of the "action" of the film was the constant interplay of who's in charge, why can't you read the map, why did you throw away the map, why don't we have any more cigarettes, why don't you turn off the camera, why are you so stubborn, why are you breaking down now when we need you, why don't you let him cry? I sat there, a man of 52, and realized I was seeing into the heart of generation-x, the world of the young man or woman in his/her early 20s. Almost three generations removed, I concluded that these three characters needed to be more interesting--as "characters"--than they were portrayed in the film. They were not given sufficient room for complications of character and plot, and thus their plight was less intriguing than it could have been. They spent their time wrangling with each other, but not really to any purpose that could be based on choices or motives. In short, the film was worth seeing, and the fundamentals of filmmaking were evident and well-employed. But there was something missing that could have made this a great film.
Bowfinger. USA. Dir. Frank Oz. Steve Martin wrote the screenplay, and although I laughed heartily at many of the scenes, the overall effect of watching the film was of watching "moments" or "skits"--some of which were hilarious, some of which were mundane. I was impressed with Eddie Murphy's comedic talents--and the range of his humor. He plays Jerry Lewis a second time (compare The Nutty Professor), and he is brilliant at that performance. I felt the supporting cast (beyond Martin and Murphy) added little to the satire. I appreciate Martin's attempts at satire and social critique--particularly of the Hollywood value system, which can be summarized neatly as "I'll go along with that--as long as I get mine, baby." But the overall film lacked cohesion and a darker satirical edge. It was worth viewing, and good for many laughs, but I expected more from it.
EdTV. USA. Dir. Ron Howard. This is the first Ron Howard film I have really liked. I found it convincing because of the story and because of the acting of Mathew M., the main character. I could understand and empathize with his plight. Sometimes the comedy was too broad, but it always focused on the main character's emotional and psychological development. It didn't have the thematic depth of The Truman Show, but it was still a worthwhile and entertaining effort.
Eyes Wide Shut. England. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. It's amazing how much "bad press" this film has received since it opened. As I watched the first 45 minutes of the film, I kept telling myself, "Look at these images. Look at the care and loving concern about composition, lighting, movement, acting, screenplay, editing, sound." Although I did not relate to these characters or to their motives, I came away from the film moved by how the relationship between this man and woman was revealed, almost like a psychological x-ray machine at work. The wife was calculating, cruel, and even malevolent in her telling of the story of her fantasy for the young officer. At the same time, her husband was staggeringly stupid to respond as he did. So much of how these characters responded seemed "left out" or otherwise missing from the plot. And at the same time, I was not entirely miffed by what was missing. After all, the husband had gotten himself into this trouble by means of his beautiful face and body and by his lack of morality (allowing himself to be the lapdog doctor for the rich man). In other words, he was living the unexamined life. That's a good place to start from before tumbling into this dark rabbit hole (not as friendly as in Alice in Wonderland). The long argument scene between the husband and wife was perfectly cast and perfectly acted. Throughout the film I kept saying to myself, "Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise are doing a magnficent job of acting." I can't understand why so many critics enjoy dumping on these two actors. Their reaction shots were a study in fundamental acting. I kept thinking about this film for days. Little questions would pop up, bits of scenes would replay. I viewed the orgy scenes as chilling, ennervating. I kept thinking of how everyone wears masks, and how seldom the masks are ever removed to reveal the essence of the person. I am reminded of why I go to films--to be renewed and rejuvenated through art. I got what I needed from the film, even if I was unmoved by some of the director's machinations.
Flawless. USA. Dir. Joel Schumacher. I thoroughly enjoyed the acting of Robert De Niro and Peter Seymour Hoffman as the retired security guard and the transgender woman who is his nemesis. The film was predictably plotted from the beginning. For instance, it begins with a cute montage of the two getting dressed--an obvious set of contrasts. When the De Niro character walks through the neighborhood, we get a strong sense of the neighborhood-as-character, but later we realize that was only for local color. Most of the film will take place within the sleazy hotel occupied by the two main characters. There are other homages to idiosyncrasy and quirkiness, but again they are only part of the background story. Nothing gets in the way of the basic one-to-one relationship and the sparring scenes between the two main characters. In those scenes the two actors shine. But early in the film, when we see De Niro dancing the tango and Hoffman performing in drag, both seem stiff and wooden in their movements. De Niro's tango is nothing compared to Al Pacino's in Scent of a Woman, and Hoffman's performance on stage is pathetic compared to the real thing, provided by the Lady Chablis in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. But I digress. The film works because of the clash of the two characters, the homophobic De Niro and the Drag Queen. Seeing their performances is enough, and the scenes shown in the credits (not really outtakes as much as additional scenes not used in the film) are a perfect way to end the film. As Hoffman rags De Niro, we keep watching De Niro's face and thinking that any minute he will crack--and burst out laughing. But he does not go out of character, not even for an instant.Girl, Interrupted, USA. Dir. James Mangold. I can see why Winona Ryder wanted to make this film, and why she wanted to star in it. It reminds me of a female version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--it offers an interesting take on life in a mental institution. I believed the premise--that parents could simply dump a daughter in mental hospital because they did not understand what she was going through. As is so often the case, the consequences of such decisions lead to good for the main character. The young woman finds what she needs--a family, a peer group--in that institution. In a sense, she graduates from this "finishing school," only to realize that others of her peers will never be able to graduate. She matures, she bonds, she stands up for her beliefs. She does everything we value in the West. No wonder Winona Ryder wanted to make this film and be its star. Angelina Jolie does another dead-on portrayal of an idiosyncratic loner. She and Ashley Judd continue to impress as original talents. But this film fails only because it is overwritten at the end. The last two scenes seemed excessive, contrived, and sentimentalized to me. I would have left them out. I did not need a final resolution with the Angelina Jolie character. I wanted to leave her behind as a mysterious character who was never fully revealed to us.
The Harmonists. Germany. Dir. Joseph Vilmsmaier. The film was an entertaining, and often disquieting, look at anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Germany. Sorry, but I saw it back in January and don't have strong recollections of it. It is a worthwhile video to rent. Their music was great, but their story was sad and disturbing. It is based on a true story of the Harmonists group--and finding out how the men survived their exile was a good way to close the film.
Hurricane. USA. Dir. Norman Jewison. This film had some of the right moves, but not all of the right moves. My biggest complaint is that Denzel Washington's character, Rubin Carter, was too perfect, too morally one-dimensional, too perfectly at peace within himself, too perfectly articulate in all ways. We never saw the "wholeness" of his character, flaws as well as treasures. But this film had Denzel Washington, and in most of his scenes he dominates the camera. I still prefer his work in Courage Under Fire more than this film, though, partly because of the better story and the superior acting in the former film. In this film Washington has his moments--what he can do with his face in close shots is a textbook for students of acting. He knows how to make every look genuine, affecting, riveting. The stillness of his head, his widened eyes showing vulnerability, terror, and yet determination and resistance. The opening segments of this film move slowly, a bit plodding, until the young black teenager finds Hurricane (after reading his autobiography). Then the film began to move for me. The last 30 minutes were the most powerful emotionally, and I give the director credit for bringing along the dramatic arc of the story. The basic outlines of this man's story suggest that he is worthy of being considered a hero to many people. Unfortunately, we never receive an in-depth treatment of his character. The Canadians who helped him are drawn one-dimensionally, and the young actor who portrays the black teenager is weak in his early scenes--but definitely more effective in the later scenes. Perhaps it would be fairer to blame the screenplay when actors seem to come across poorly to the audience.
Iron Giant, The. USA. Dir. Brad Bird. I viewed this film with some positive bias, I have to admit, because I know one of the CGI animators, a very talented young man. But I can give an unbiased approval of the film because it animates, that is, brings to life, the cartoon character, The Iron Giant. The giant is realized as a character, given an identity that is likeable and distinctive, and from there on I was hooked. The key scene for me was when the young boy, who treats the giant like a giant lapdog (golden retriever-type), gets angry (and then frantic) when he spots the giant eating railroad tracks. He orders the giant to put them back. The colossus does what he is told to do (his circuits have been severely damaged by an electrical substation). At one point he hunches over the tracks and seems to measure the gap between two sets with an imagined caliper--he wants to do it right (just like a good dog!). Making the Iron Giant come alive like a character was the real hit of this film. I didn't care too much for the overall 50-ish animation style, but I looked past that because the character was alive, and the relationship between the boy and the giant was believable, even inspiring. The ending is cliched and hackneyed in parts, but I loved the coda of the film, which drove home an important message about the importance of self-sacrifice and yet regeneration through self-sacrifice. I only wish the coda had been expanded somewhat to make the action more suspenseful. Most critics liked this film, and yet no one has gone to see it. My simple advice: pack up your kids and go to this movie with them. You won't be sorry. This IS an old-fashioned film, in the best sense of the word.
Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. England. Dir. Guy Ritchie. This film runs on some of the high-octane fuel that Run Lola Run (below) uses. But this film works because the characters are believable and endearing--if sometimes dimwitted. I enjoyed the fast-paced action and over-the-top shot selections. Sometimes the director goes too far, but not enough to become repetitive. The young friends who hang out and get into trouble are a likeable crew, and the optimistic ending is a bit too much to accept--but still, the overall effect of the film is an intriguing romp. Also comparable to the Scottish high-octane burning Trainspotting (1996).
The Lovers on the Bridge. France. (1991) I wanted to really like this film. I wanted to believe these two characters--from different classes and educational backgrounds--found each other and fell in love and went on to thrive as lovers. But I didn't. The film begins with exceptional direct cinema, documentary-style scenes. In a matter of moments I understood who the male lead was--a homeless man, nearly mute, highly introverted, self-destructive, alienated. When a woman moves onto the bridge (the famous Pont Neuf across the Seine), his older mentor wants her to leave--now. Of course, she stays. She (Juliette Binoche) is a wounded soul, nearly blind from a degenerative disease, an artist, abandoned by her lover. The young man falls madly in love with her. She does not return the attention at first. Eventually, she yields to her circumstances--after all, life consists of life on this bridge (and stealing, performing on the street). Just when it looks like reality is going to be the hallmark of this film--after all, these two people aren't going to become lovers (no way!)--the director shifts gears and drops in and out of the direct cinema style, often incorporating highly subjective camera styles and near-fantasy sequences (in one scene they steal and boat; he drives down the Seine, and she water skis behind him--all in the context of the 1989 French Centennial fireworks gala). This inconsistency of style bothered me after a while, and when the climactic action occurs--their reunion on the bridge after some time apart from each other (he goes to prison for 3 years for manslaughter)--I was frustrated at the resolution imposed on us by the director. There is something about endings of films--they're not the easiest things to pull off, are they? I think of the disappointing ending of Dr. Akagi, or the anticlimactic ending of Eyes Wide Shut, or the abruptness of the ending of The Blair Witch Project, or the perfectly appropriate ending of My Son the Fanatic.. In this case I quite simply didn't accept that ending. My viewing partner, Pat, left the cinema saying, "I accepted everything about their relationship." I wish I had been in her place.
My Life So Far, England, Dir. Hugh Hudson. Hudson is famous for directing Chariots of Fire (1981), and this film serves as a modest comeback for him. I appreciated the slow-moving, sensitive way the film unfolded and revealed the idiosyncrasies of its characters. The film is charming, but neither predictable nor sentimental. The best thing about the film is the way it focuses on the young boy's growing up in England. The last scene is a perfect ending--the boy having defined himself now as a "man." The film works as a study of characters, the English landscape, and the bildungsroman theme.
My Son the Fanatic. England. Dir. Udayan Pradash. This 1997 BBC-TV production is a well-intended effort, but not entirely satisfactory. Om Puri, well-known Indian actor, plays a longtime Pakistani taxi driver in England whose life takes a turn when his son refuses to carry out an engagement with a young English woman because he resents his future father-in-law's disdain for his race. The father (Puri) is aghast at his son's rejection of the "good life," and he is further stunned by the boy's sudden embrace of fundamentalist Islam. The father often drives prostitutes to and from their nightly assignations, and one of the prostitutes, played by Rachel Griffith, is a close friend who eventually becomes his lover. In other words, this is a complicated, or perhaps I should say, convoluted plot. Although the acting of the two main characters was excellent (as expected), I never felt the chemistry between them. I didn't understand why they became lovers. I didn't have enough context for this relationship. Something was missing--something that would help me understand what would trigger their interaction. There were other loose ends, too. What kept my attention was the clear and effective direction by Pradash, and the quiet, contemplative acting of Puri. The ending scene is a perfect example of the combination of those two forces. This director has a sure, competent hand.
Playing by Heart. USA. Dir. Hugh Wilson. The interactions between Danny DeVito and Holly Hunter made this a memorable film. I realized, as the film was ending, that this was not a great film--but it delivered humanity and irony and character. Another example of "opposites attract." I had little trouble believing their chemistry and mutual attraction. I enjoyed the camaraderie between Holly Hunter and her jazz singer friend--a good example of a supporting character who truly provides support to the main character. Holly Hunter plays the ditzy gal she has played many times before, yet she always provides slight additions or new wrinkles to her characterizations. Danny DeVito plays the loveable schlemiel again, and he plays it well. The film is entertaining and the characters are likeable. The comedy is sophisticated and the dialogue is witty and original.
Princess Mononoke, Japan. Dir. Hayao Miyazaki. This film is too long, the plot is sometimes too simplistic and at other times too convoluted, and the use of American actors speaking the lines of the cartoon characters is distracting. So why recommend this film at all? Because many of its images are breathtaking, unforgettable, stunning, emotionally evocative, and downright beautiful. I was moved particularly by the animation of the tree spirits, those spirits who are associated with the life of the great trees in the forest. I kept wondering, "Wouldn't these little critters make a fortune as part of McDonalds's Happy Meals?" I also enjoyed the originality of the demon of the million worms, the great white boar god, and the spirit of the forest, an elk-like beast that walks on water and dissolves into another creature at sunset. The film often was a feast for the eyes. But too often it is undermined by those issues I raised at the beginning of the paragraph. I yearned to watch the film while listening to the voices of the Japanese actors. Hearing Billy Bob Thornton as the monk did not impress me; and hearing Clare Danes' screeching her Valley-Girl accent as Princess Mononoke was an affront to my senses. Then the whole film goes on too long--at least 20 minutes too long--and that error can only be rectified when someone recuts the film. One thing I can say: there were times when I responded to the visuals with awe and said under my breath, "I have never seen anything like this before!"
Run Lola Run. Germany. Dir. Tom Tykwer.
This film is filled with energetic cutting, montages, musical score, and movement.
I applaud the energy level, but I do not agree with the philosophy of life that
is espoused in the film. Early in the film carrot-topped Lola has 20 minutes
to save her boyfriend, who has lost 100,000 marks from a drug deal. If
he does not pay the drug lord the money, he will be killed for sure. Lola
wracks her brain for an idea. Who to go to first? The scene incorporates
an interesting new technology used extensively in television commercials--based
on photographic technology imported into a computer program. The camera
seems to circle Lola as she considers her choices. Finally she
settles on her father. As she dashes through the streets, accompanied
by a pulsating beat, she encounters several people, by chance, and in each case
the rest of their lives is compressed into a quickly-cut montage of photographic
images--based on this interaction one person meets the perfect mate and lives
happily ever after, another descends into drug abuse and suicide, another becomes
a religious fundamentalist, another becomes an invalid.
The point seems to be that all life is dictated by chance. One minute you're on one road; the next minute you're on another road. Apparently the screenwriter never read Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken." Frost understood that the direction of one's life is based on choices--that's the essence of plot. This film wants us to believe that we have no power to change our "fate"--with one exception--and, of course, that exception is Lola. She is the captain of her own fate because of her strong will (expressed through an awful primal scream!). The expression of her will underlies the philosophy of this film. Nothing in life is permanent--relationships included. She hates her father (an easy choice). There is no God. (When she prays to God finally, near the end of the film, a near-accident leads her to notice a casino--another means of applying her will). What can we conclude? Young people are alienated and alone in the universe and need to depend upon their own powers to survive on a daily basis. What Lola wants, Lola gets. I enjoyed the performance of the main character and the actor who played her boyfriend. I enjoyed the high energy and music. I enjoyed the three-part structure. (We see three versions of her desperate 20-minute run.) But I left the theater emotionally let down, because the characters, particularly Lola, were no more three-dimensional than the animated cartoon-character version that had been shown throughout the film.
Stuart Little, USA. This is a good film for children--core values of love, loyalty, friendship, compassion, fairness. Every adult in the audience knows what will happen--somehow the little mouse will help the boy win the boat race; somehow the little mouse will make the little boy like him; somehow the little mouse will escape from the clutches of the bad cats. The film was well-animated, sometimes too cute for its own good, but practically harmless. I would still recommend the Babe movies if you are looking for classic children's tales. The children in the audience at my screening loved the film. When Stuart made his first appearances, the chilldren yelled, "Stuart! Stuart!" with great enthusiasm. Then they settled down and enjoyed the film and were wonderfully behaved. There was nothing creepy about the mouse, and there was nothing preppy about him either--he was simply a loving little character who happened to be a mouse and not a cat or a dog or a human.
Sweet and Lowdown, USA, Dir. Woody Allen. As I watched this film, I kept thinking, "Well, he's doing everything right. The cinematography casts a warm-colored aura over the action, Sean Penn's acting is the typical distillation of an idiosyncratic character, the pseudo-documentary style is played out expertly." Then why was I not engaged in this film as I thought I would be? What held me back from being drawn into the world of these characters? I can't say for sure, but I can say that I was not affected emotionally by much of what I was watching. Except for the music--that was the main character in the film. I loved listening to the music. But I couldn't care less about the main character, the second-greatest jazz guitarist, Emmett Ray. Even though Sean Penn had all the moves and twitches and nuances down--as I expected he would--what I was left with was a character who in no way inspired me. He seemed completely detached from the beautiful music he turned out. Even though he "moved" to his music, as if in an hypnotic trance, he never seemed to be at one with that music. It came out of him, all right. His fingers did all the right things. But he never invested his emotional life in his music. He was like an older relative, let's say one's uncle, who never got his act together in life, and the family always talks about him as the person who ruined marriages, his children's lives, etc., because of his insensitivity, selfishness, and boozing. Every character, no matter how limited, needs to reveal something of hope and sensitivity and faith in himself--something that will inspire us and make us believe that if he is given one more chance, then maybe . . . .But this characterization lacks that extra dimension. The documentary interview inserts are not sufficiently revelatory. They are simply talking heads. Why? Why? I kept looking for answers. But I did not get them. But then that music! When Sean Penn performs, when the music becomes the main character, that's almost enough. This is a competent film about a character who lacks heart and soul. The contrived ending, where he smashes his guitar out of desperation, does not redeem the film for me.
Tango. Argentina-Spain. Dir. Carlos Saura. The director plays the leading man in this loosely-plotted film. For the most part the film is an exercise in blending dance with innovative cinematography. The film is watchable and entertaining for those two reasons alone. The acting is stilted, and does not contribute to the dance. The tango is beautifully danced by a number of classic dancers. My favorite dance was between a petite blonde woman and an older man. The grace of their movements brought tears to my eyes. But the film never delivered the punch of Sally Potter's 1997 film The Tango Lesson. In that film the relationship between the two characters was charged with passion and intensity. I didn't feel that passion in the characterizations of this film. Still, what lingers in my memory is watching the tango danced with lighting schemes that dazzled and satisfied.
This is My Father. Ireland. Dir. Paul Quinn. This film is a family affair. The main character is Aidan Quinn, the cinematographer is Declan Quinn, and the director is Paul. All are brothers, and the film is obviously a labor of love. But there are a few weak links in what is, for the most part, a satisfying experience. The first is the casting of James Caan as the middle-aged version of Aidan Quinn. He is the character who returns to Ireland to search for his father. Caan never infuses the character with any dimensionality. He isn't helped with classroom scenes (he is a teacher) filmed in a pseudo-realistic style. Those scenes fall flat. Second, he brings with him to Ireland his adolescent son--and this plot line delivers little punch. Third, the character Aidan Quinn plays is a bit too simple-minded--almost a version of the main character in Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, who is ruined by forces greater than himself. In This is My Father Aidan Quinn is unable to rise to the parochialism and xenophobia that surround him. I was most impressed by the way the scenes from the past had a richness and texture (greatly influenced by the marvelous cinematography) that helped me identify with the main character and grieve at his loss.
Twin Falls Idaho. USA. Dir. Michael Polish. This film starred the director and his twin brother, playing conjoined twins (Siamese Twins). The first half of the film, which focused on the arrival of a prostitute at the seedy apartment of the twins, was strange, dark, atmospheric, compelling, original. I kept waiting for the film to move to the next level--to develop the relationships in new and credible ways. But the young prostitute never became real to me. A better film, I think, was last year's Buffalo 66, a story about a prostitute and an ex-con that really broke new ground in terms of insights into young people's lives.