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David Hugh Jones
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Aging screenwriter Felix Bonhoeffer has lived his life in two states of existence: in reality and his own interior world. While working on a murder mystery script, and unaware that his brain is on the verge of implosion, Felix is baffled when his characters start to appear in his life, and vice versa.
A model has her rich, much older husband come with her to a photo shoot. But when their plane crashes in the middle of nowhere, a strong mind game erupts between the clever husband and the jealous young photographer as they try to get back to civilization. Written by
Steve Richer <email@example.com>
This film was a revelation! When it was on general release in the cinema, I gave it a wide berth. I can't remember why, probably the combination of a weak title, Alec Baldwin in a starring role and a really unimaginative trailer. I've just seen it on a 14-inch TV screen and am so sorry I didn't catch it on the big screen (or even a 26-inch TV!).
David Mamet can write but he knows his place! This is an action adventure movie and so Mamet is not trying to make any great philosophical point. He does provide a wide variety of thematic ingredients (man V nature, youth V age, brains V brawn, machismo, infidelity) to ensure that the story line is far more interesting than most of Hollywood's action-movie schlock. And, of course, a furry killing machine that can smell a man from 10 miles and run through the forest at 30 mph!
Charles, (Anthony Hopkins' erudite billionaire character) starts out as the vulnerable, isolated character of the film. He's married to Mickey, his photo-model wife(Elle can act herself!) flirts quite openly with Bob the handsome, younger photographer (Baldwin). Charles seems set up for a fall. In his self-effacing way, he confesses to knowing a lot "in theory" but not being great at "practical application".
So when the plane crashes into an icy lake, Charles is the one for whom you most fear but that's when all the surprises start..........
The biggest disappointment for me is that a fine actor such as Harold Perrineau finds himself playing a role that is a classical Hollywood cliché, the nice black guy who gets killed. When are they going to cut this crap out? Either kill the guy in the crash or give him a character but don't just make him plot fodder. Seeing Stephen (Perrineau) with the other two on the lake shore, you just knew he would have all the longevity in this film as James Bond's first female conquest. As David Mamet doesn't share the writing credits with a studio committee or an executive producer, I suppose he has to take responsibility.
That said, this is a really gripping film. Well directed photographed and acted (even by Baldwin!). And the bear! How long do you have?
The shots where you (from Charles point of view) are staring down the roaring bear's throat and can see his uvula through an emerging cloud of steamy breath are just brilliant. I could almost smell that bear. I believe they made extensive use of prosthetics. Excellent FX!
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