Giles De'Ath is a widower who doesn't like anything modern. He goes to movies and falls in love with film star, Ronnie Bostock. He then investigates everything about the movie and Ronnie. ...
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Giles De'Ath is a widower who doesn't like anything modern. He goes to movies and falls in love with film star, Ronnie Bostock. He then investigates everything about the movie and Ronnie. After that he travels to Long Island city where Ronnie lives and meets him, pretending that Ronnie is a great actor and that's why Giles admires him. Written by
When Giles lands at the airport in New York and drives thru the city all the trees are in full leaf as they would be in summer yet when he takes a cab to the motel on Long Island here are no leaves on the trees and it is obvious it is a different season. See more »
It is so difficult to know where I should begin, especially when, unlike you, I already know the ending. But let us say that this story began with end of another.
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Love and Death on Long Island is an interesting, moody film, but it's difficult to decide if I truly felt satisfied having viewed it.
What we are presented with is essentially a fish out of water story about Giles (John Hurt), an ultra-conservative English gent who begins slowly to reform his technophobic, insular lifestyle when he develops an interest in a young American film star (Jason Priestley). The nature of this interest is explored minimalistic ally, although there is obviously more to it than just a belief in the boy's acting talent or potential.
We are then treated to a myriad of culture shock as Giles enters the universe of youth and as we see this very quaint man with his very quaint, idyllic lifestyle interact with very common, happy-go-lucky people, his character becomes increasingly complex. This culminates in a rather impressionistic, elusive finale where his true interest in the film star, Ronnie, is finally explored and brought to light.
The film is at times wryly amusing and at other times cringingly awkward. For all its moments of social faux pas and clumsiness it reminds me a lot of Alexander Payne's films. The difference as I see it though is that Payne knows when to draw away from an embarrassing moment to make us empathise, but not altogether pity, the character. Here, the director Kwietniowski tends to hold our focus on such scenes which makes it notably less comfortable to watch.
Having said that, Kwietniowski does handle a number of the film's elements remarkably well. Firstly, his cast is used to their full potential. In particular, John Hurt's wonderfully expressive face is used to explore a plethora of human emotion throughout the film. Secondly, the interaction between the generations - old age, middle age and youth - is handled with a soft focus that is ever-present but very understated. Even if one feels a lack of rewards from the somewhat alienating story, at least we have the pleasure of hearing John Hurt say in a very charming British accent, "Hey dude, how's it hanging?" And basically, the plot is also downplayed to the point where the film is far more an exploration than an anecdote. Its pace is very deliberate and its threadbare cast of characters is rich and complex for all that they're worth. I would find it hard to truly love this film but it is still a very capable, interesting effort.
***1/2 / *****
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