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When Juvenal, a presumed miracle worker, appears on the scene Bill Hill attempts to exploit him but his plans go astray with the untimely intervention of August Murray and the developing relationship between Juvenal and Lynn Faulkner. Written by
Mark Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Juvenal aka Charlie Lawson:
wait, you asked me if I believe in God. I said "yes". You didn't ask me if I believe in the church. Now sometimes I don't like God much, or what they call God once they get him under their roof.
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Elmore Leonard novels tend to deal with sleazy characters operating at the fringes of society. "Touch" is a strange book in that the sleaze bags are presented in a different light. They're not the obvious con men, but they are people that are trying to take advantage of a situation that is perceived as a money producing scheme.
Paul Schrader has adapted and directed, but the essence of the book is somehow elusive by what is presented to us. Yes, we realize that Bill Hill is into making a fast buck if he can sell Juvenal as the miracle worker with supernatural powers. In fact, this theme has been done more successfully in other films.
What the director accomplishes are good performances from his cast. At times the movie feels flat and without a clear direction as where it wants to go; we don't care too much about Juvenal after he loses his 'touch' and he becomes a mere mortal.
Skeet Ulrich is excellent as Juvenal; this actor is always a welcome sight in any movie he is in. Christopher Walken turns a controlled performance as Bill Hill, the man in search of a good con that will do anything to get it done. Bridget Fonda is also low key as Lynn, the skeptical woman who sees good in Juvenal and ends up falling for him. Also very effective is Tom Arnold, the man that wants to take the church into the right path and will stop at nothing to protect his own views.
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