The actual experiences of New York City subway riders are dramatized in a collection of 10 intriguing and very different vignettes. The tales showcase an ensemble of familiar faces, and ... See full summary »
The actual experiences of New York City subway riders are dramatized in a collection of 10 intriguing and very different vignettes. The tales showcase an ensemble of familiar faces, and range from stories of compassion and love to reflections on violence and loss. Among them: a disabled beggar quarrels with a woman and ruins her shoes with his wheelchair, provoking onlookers to wrath and pity; a skittish tourist proves to be her own worst enemy; a newlywed trysts with a mysterious sexpot; a commuter helplessly witnesses a suicide attempt; and, in the most affecting segment, a young woman grieves over her mother's imminent death. Written by
HBO held a contest asking New Yorkers to submit interesting true stories that happened on the subways. The winning stories were then adapted for the film. See more »
In the segment, "The 5:24", the Tuesday train is shown entering the station and traveling throughout the scene from left to right, but at the end the car is seen rolling into a station right to left with Tucker and the Old Man in the same seats. See more »
A mixed bag of short stories that is mainly interesting and enjoyable
HBO invited the citizens of New York to send in their stories and experiences of travelling on the subway system 1000's did. From these, this film was produced, using the real experiences of day to day travel to inspire this anthology of short stories. Starting with a man who learns the hard way the importance of following the crowd, the film continues with the Vietnam veteran who gets a backlash from the passengers, a woman trapped in a turnstile, a man conducting an affair on a train and a man who starts getting stock tips from an old man riding the morning train each day.
Not getting HBO in the UK, we are pretty reliant on what is imported by other channels; many of the biggest shows make it of course but it is less common for the many cable movies made by the station to reach the UK. So it was with surprise that I found somebody had bought this collection of stories and stuck in the late night schedules to be mostly overlooked and ignored. Loving short films as a type of movie experience I wanted to give this a try and I wanted it to be good and, on the whole, it was pretty enjoyable and interesting. Some of the stories are very basic or reveal their all as easily as a paid dancer and these tend to be the lesser films even if they do still have some merit.
However the films that stood out in my mind are those that capture the randomness of life in a big city, where things happen quickly that can't be repeated or ever relived, where you don't know all the answers and it is more than just a funny story that happened. A couple of the shorts here hit this on the money and are interesting and yet leave you not knowing everything so that it does linger with questions and so on. It is these couple of shorts (Miracle Manhattan, 5:24, Love on the A Train, The Red Shoes in particular) that make the film worth seeing even if the other ones are fairly ordinary and only really watchable without being special (Fern's Heart of Darkness and Sax Cantor Riff to name two).
The cast is impressive even if they are not all used that well and the quality of performances does rather depend on the material. Not to rate everybody but; KRS-One was a surprise but did the job; N'Bushe Wright was good; Denis Leary was impressive and convincing; Zahn was unusually understated as indeed was Stiller; I don't understand why Mekhi Phifer bothered to show up considering all he got out of it; Taylor and Rapaport make an average film better; Rockwell is an interesting find with nothing to do; Perez isn't annoying (is there higher praise than that?); Heche is shot in the distance and hard to make out and has her short stolen by a good turn from the late Gregory Hines. The rest are OK in support but really the film is more about the stories than the cast and weak stories aren't greatly improved even when they do have a good cast here.
Overall this is an interesting collection and I'm glad I saw it. There are no really bad entries but one or two are fairly ordinary and I wouldn't rate them if they had been short films in their own right; however the majority are actually well done, interesting stories that snapshot memories and half stories to be interesting and leave the audience curious but, like the train, forced to move along and take what we can from them. Not a brilliant collection by any means but the good outweighs the average and it is worth seeing if you get the chance.
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