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|Index||16 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An unusual low-budget film about the carnival circuit and the people
who run them.
Knowing nothing about Carnies beyond them tending to be associated with hard work, light crookedness and putting local girls up the duff and then leaving town, I can't say the film really gripped me or helped me understand them better. More story and character development would have been a big help. I wanted particularly to know more about the backgrounds of the principle trio to understand what drove them and where they thought they were going, if anywhere.
That said it's an entertaining film with a solid cast. If you like 70's era films this won't disappoint. I was unsure what to make of Donna (Jodie Foster). Her character seemed to be an odd mixture of conflicts and innocence (soon lost) wrapped around an ambition that would hurt those around her if allowed to go on. Fortunately her two mainstays Patch (Robbie Robertson) and Frankie (Gary Busey) are fairly worldly wise, particularly Patch who oversees the midway and pays off local officials to keep things uncomplicated.
Donna tries her (very green) hand in the burlesque tent with predictably bad results, no thanks to Patch. She finally teams up with Gerta (Meg Foster), she of the startlingly pale irises, in the string-pull booth. It could have gone interesting places from there but it ended unsatisfactorily to me and the carnies were portrayed as rogues who were a little too likable. Frankie had his demons but he seemed, at core, a decent guy and his relationship with Donna had real promise that was overlooked.
If you're a fan of the principle players or just think that an 18-year old Jodie would be very easy on the eye (as indeed she has always been) then it is worth a look.
This is not a great movie but it could have been one.
The casting is top notch (I am impressed by Meg Foster with her unforgettable eyes even though her screen time in the movie was insignificant). Jodie Foster is young, attractive and impulsive; so different from the later day mature Jodie Foster, who exudes confidence and intelligence.
Yet the film that starts off like a European film with the lead actor painting his face to play a clown. The sequence readies you for great moments of clowning/tragedy. This never happens. If it does it happens in isolated moments of the film.
The problem lies with the screenplay and direction. You expect cinema of a Istvan Szabo or a Marcel Carne, instead you are dished out disconnected sequences that appeal to you merely due to the rich potential of the performers. Gary Busey's and Robbie Richardson's characters strike you, not Jodie Foster's. They strike you because they added some depth and feeling to their roles. Jodie Foster does not do so in comparison. I liked her in the movie because she looked good, not because of the quality of her performance.
Just imagine if this cast and story were in the hands of Robert Altman or Marcel Carne or Istvan Szabo. We would have had a great film!
Someone needs to find the masters and put this out on DVD!!!! Great
soundtrack! Robbie was surprisingly effective as Patch. He even brought
some menace when required, if memory serves. Him and Busey riffing on
women, and their place in the Caravan, is priceless!
He and Busey had a great chemistry, and Jodie Foster looked to be having a lot of fun getting her floozy on! Scorcese was a part of the production team, it seems to me, he would certainly have the juice to supervise a DVD package.
Very worthy of release.
ANCHOR BAY, ARE YOU LISTENING?
An older teen girl has a truck-stop clinch with a carnival clown after the fair sweeps through her town; after some persuasion from her lover (and some confounding need to be with him and these show-folk), she joins up with the freakish carnies. A first-rate example of atmosphere over plot, "Carny" is full of characters running around without really doing much; you would think the carny folk would be more than just suspicious of this new kid in their midst--they show no interest in her blonde ordinariness (wouldn't they be as curious of her as she is of them? And IS she curious about their pick-up-and-go lives? The way Jodie Foster plays her, she's just a bored teenager, fettered perhaps but vacuous). I didn't care for the 'plot' as it developed (sneaking in bits of clichéd suspense) nor did I care for Robbie Robertson (glum with heavy lids) as the carnival boss. This picture doesn't add up; it's queasy and awkward, and I felt these faults were absolutely deliberate. The movie is an indifferent freak show, a ghoulish blank. All the characters have false-fronts, but we never get to see what's underneath. The filmmakers seem undecided whom to direct the movie towards without ever consummating their own feelings for the theatrical critters crawling up and down the runways. ** from ****
"Carny" is wonderful...The story, the acting, the score. Jodie Foster plays a striptease dancer. The 2 guys are fighting for her love. A great movie for fans of Jodie Foster 70's films.
Good movie they should make a Carny 2 with all the same characters as in the first movie. Jodie Foster was great in that movie, same with Gary Busy. though it was bad in one part,Jodie Foster had sex with someone else.
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