A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be ... See full summary »
Nick is desperate, holed up in a cheap hotel, suffering from an ulcer and convinced that a local mobster wants him killed. He calls Mikey, his friend since childhood, but when Mikey arrives... See full summary »
Marvin, a heavy-drinking widower who has seen better days and now ekes out a living at odd jobs, meets Tige, an 11-year-old black boy about to kill himself because his mother has just died.... See full summary »
Billy Dee Williams,
Mabel, a wife and mother, is loved by her husband Nick but her madness proves to be a problem in the marriage. The film transpires to a positive role of madness in the family, challenging conventional representations of madness in cinema.
Berlin Film Fest 1984. The best place for every cinema fan. Everyone wants to be in on the festival, but that may be really difficult, if one has no accreditation. Also Journalist Matthies ... See full summary »
Heinz Van Nouhuys
A common friend's sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be short-lived. Written by
Nick Cassavetes played uncredited a character, Nick, who had the same first name as his own. This was the first ever film that future actor-writer-director Nick Cassavetes and son of the film's writer-director and co-lead actor John Cassavetes, ever worked on. Like father like son, both in their careers are actor-writer-directors. See more »
[Arriving at the funeral]
I suppose this is proper, all these big cars and chauffeurs. Black shiny cars. Seems dopey for a guy like that. Well, I guess that's what they do. People get symbolic over death. They get very formal, and it's really ridiculous. Because it's probably the most humiliating thing in the world. But I feel very relaxed. People die of tensions. That's all they die of, Gus. That's the truth. Did you know that? I know it, and it's something I'm never gonna forget.
[...] See more »
There are no closing credits and no "THE END" title card. The screen just goes black. In the opening credits, everyone involved in the film (even the "little people") are credited on two "tell all" title cards, right on down from the actors to the grips, a total of 82 credits. See more »
Three men (Falk, Cassavettes, and Gazzara) mourn the death of a friend by going on a long-weekend bender, during which they talk about life, experience masculine pleasures, and try to understand the meaning of it all.
This was the first Cassavettes movie I've ever seen. I liked it, which was surprising because this is not the sort of movie I'm generally interested in. There's almost no plot to speak of, most of the movie feels improvised (although improvised along certain set themes -- one does feel the heavy hand of the director here and there). It's a slice of life movie that still feels pretty rough and daring; I imagine in 1970, when this came out, people couldn't make hide nor hare of it.
Like most movies of this type, the big flaw is structure. The movie takes forever to get going, and doesn't really seem to know when to quit: the last reel, in particular, felt a little long to me. Plus, as I said, there is here and there a sense of a structure being imposed from without: the guys don't just do anything, they do certain set things for "character revelation" sake.
The acting, which is the crucial thing in a movie like this, of course, doesn't disappoint. All three men are very believable: they delineate their macho world quite well, with it's romanticism, bathos, insecurities and obnoxiousness. They're similar types of guys, which bothered me a lot at first but upon reflection made a lot of sense, since in real life we tend to be friends with people like us. Still, there are gradations and variations: Falk is inarticulate and sensitive, Gazzara despairing, Cassavettes is fumbling toward some kind of self-recognition.
The cinematography is absolutely stunning -- I might have seen a particularly nice print but this took me by surprise. Most of the movie is shot in warm, earthy, romantic tones, which sets the mood of nostalgia and dreams well, I think. Every now and then, though, we get a cold, full-on daytime shot where everyone looks naked and blinking under a frigid sun; it's a good counterpoint.
This is an important film by an important director. He'll never be a favorite of mine, but I'll definitely check out other work of his. You'll be doing yourself a favor if you do the same.
9 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?