Lulu on the Bridge (1998)
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In an odd way, this is an interesting film although a bit "soapy" in parts for my tastes. It has a bit of a mystifying element with this strange stone as part of the story, yet they don't elaborate on it. Actually, this is more of a romance story....but at leaves a number of questions. One doesn't quite figure out Willem Dafoe's character is in here and the ending was very strange and not altogether satisfying, either. Perhaps another look or two would have been a better option before writing this. I haven't read any reviews but I suspect people really got into this film and liked it or were bored to death. Actually, I was somewhere in the middle. I was more interested in the cinematography.
Note: "Lulu" is named for a character played by silent screen star Louise Brooks.
Seeing Dafoe and Keitel working together again (first time since Last Temptation of Christ?) was a delight. Both are capable of a tremendous range, but chose restraint in this film, and it worked. The interogation scenes in the warehouse were mesmerizing. I love this film!
Here's the general shape: man is shot and lays dying. He has a vision of girl who he falls in love with, a magical stone causes this. (This is a piece of plaster that falls on him when he is shot.) Its a sweet love story and the magical nature is apt for a movie about an inner movie.
But there are two complications that help. One is that our hero is captured and quizzed. Some dreary writing and the roughest parts of the film are associated with this bit. Its the second complication that has a special sparkle.
Our girl is an out of work actress who again magically gets the starring role as Lulu in a remake of "Pandora's Box." This is perhaps the most sexually charged film of all time: a perfect confluence of actress, svengali filmmaker and the cinematic properties of silent film-making.
Its a rather clever fold, yeah? A film about an inner film of love that both references and includes a landmark film. Its being made in Joyce's Dublin by a character played by Vanessa Redgrave.
More: our guy is particularly fond of "Singing in the Rain."
The fact that the girl in this case is profoundly unsexy and unappealing in most ways deepens the notion for me.
It works, if you let it.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
The title of this film is completely deceptive.. you'd think it's a kiddie film.. trust me, it's anything but. It has NOTHING to do with "Little LuLu" or kids for that matter.
This is a deeply disturbing, involving, dark, mysterious mystery/romance/thriller with some fantasy elements, but totally without glitz or pretension, beautifully filmed and acted, with a twist ending right out of Ambrose Bierce. Saying any more about the plot would spoil it, so that's all you get out of me..
I will say this.. if you enjoyed "Jacobs Ladder" you'll like this one.
Even more so, if the title "Occurance At Owl Creek Bridge" means anything to you, then you'll know what I'm talking about.
As to the two leads: Mira Sorvino is absolutely stunningly beautiful and radiant and you simply can NOT take your eyes off her.. she goes through a myriad of hairstyles and styles of clothing, everything from bed-wear (lingerie), to around-town casual, to elaborate film costuming (she acts in a film towards the end of _this_ film), and she is totally convincing, believable, and riveting.
Harvey Keitel delivers an absolutely gut-wrenching performance - as good as anything I've ever seen him do.. considering the emotions required of his character, and what he's put through, he too is totally convincing and riveting.
Here you have a pair of leads who spend a LOT of on-screen time together in a VERY complicated and mysterious relationship and they meld with each other almost perfectly.
The supporting cast is also excellent. Willem DaFoe does fine work in one of his dark, sinister trademark characters. The other big-name actors, including a cameo by Lou Reed as "Not Lou Reed" are solid as you could want.
This is an engrossing, engaging, adult film that for some reason, the critics almost completely ignored. Why?
If you sit down to watch it, watch it from end to end without interruptions.. you will be drawn into it, and involved and aborbed in it and when it ends, quite unexpectedly, you'll be left with some very interesting emotions.
If only they had given it a more suitable title..
9 out of 10 on a scale of 10.
This movie, however, was a huge disappointment! The whole story, the script, and especially the pretentious acting made the watching of this film a semi-horror. Sorry to say, my idol, Paul Auster obviously has achieved a master degree in writing novels, while the form of a movie script seems to suit him all too badly.
My hopes for the future are twofold: either Mr. Auster learns from this experience how to do better movies or, simply, he'll stick to what he does best: writing novels!
As for all of you who have only seen this film and not read any of his novels: go now! to the library and dig in!
One area of imperfection here is that the sex scenes could have been lessened and shortened as I felt it took much away from the movie's fine craft(iness). Fast-forward 2x, 4x all the way to 8x .. sex scene way too long. Padding or filler .. should have been on the editing cutter's floor.
This movie was more of a sculpture made of marble or bronze or perhaps gold? ... or silver? It has a beauty that is not easily defined or describable, but when viewed it leaves one with a distinct impression of stunning and thoughtful awe. After viewing, I asked myself how could the title have been made better, but the symbolism involved of the one scene makes the title appropriate and yet carved with a slight Mona Lisa grin.
Harvey Keitel's character was unique and I can't imagine anyone else being able to pull it off as he managed to do. I watched the movie as it unfolded each new particle of new thought to bridge to another, leaving me with using my own skills to fill in pieces and parts .. which was really enjoyable to do! And then, the surprise at the end, which I won't reveal, was charming and captivating. This one I'll definitely watch again before returning it in the mail and am considering buying it for my library. If you don't like symbolism, and are not a deep thinker, you'll not like this movie. This one is definitely a Criterion Collection formula. I can't say enough about it, but yet can't convey in words to properly give it the kudos that it deserves. Not a 10 vote, but a 15 or 20!
Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, and, of course, Willem Dafoe, carry this film, but let us not forget the supporting cast of Vanessa Redgrave (she's always wonderful!), Mandy Patinkin, and Gina Gershon.
A wonderful little gem of a film. Not just for Paul Auster fans.
the plot (SPOILER!) - of course simplified:
jazz musician Izzy gets shot on a concert. as the result of this he can no longer play his instrument, his career is over. he's hiding in his flat, not answering the phone. so his ex wife, that don't love him anymore, but still cares about him, shows up, to bring him back to life. after spending a evening dinner with her new family, on his way home, he finds a dead man in a back street. he takes the bag that lies beneath the man. there he finds two things, a phone number and a weird stone. in the night the stone is glowing blue (a naughty little beggar who things of austers earlier movies smoke/blue in the face;). next day he calls the number he had found. it belongs to Celia, a fan of Izzy's music. she invites him to her apartment. when he arrives there, Izzy gets very angry & wants an explanation from her about the stone. of course she has none. then they both touch the stone and feeling better after wards (mhm...what the stone might be standing for?). so the story goes, they fall in love. Celia wants to be an actress, but is not very successful yet. she tells him about an upcoming audition she's going to have for a movie: lulu on the bridge (see above). as Izzy knows the producer & the director, he helps her to get the job. Celia leaves to Ireland, where the movie is shot. Izzy wants to sell his flat & then follow her to Ireland. but before that happens, he get caught by some evil looking men, that want the mystique stone (surprise, surprise). they lock Izzy into an empty hall & and a guy named Dr. Van Horn (the names of the characters are awesome chosen) question him about his life (so we learn more about Izzy's past & what a man he has been). the doctor knows more about Izzy than Izzy himself, even things that Izzy pretend to forget (so we see that this is not reality, but a dream). in the meantime Celia is very upset, because she don't know what had happened to Izzy. she things he might not love her any more. then one night she throws the stone into a river (...maybe because a stone is not enough to remember a beloved person...even if it's mystic - the stone & the person). later on the evil men finally found out about Celia & chasing her to the bridge where she has thrown the stone into the river, now she's throwing herself after... not the end.
if you think this is a sad story, don't forget, it's just a movie, it never really happened. and if that makes you sad, you may watch a funny movie to cheer you up or better, simply fall in love. or you can search for weird looking stones. and if anybody you like asks you: what's that? you can answer: a blue glowing stone. and if the person then asks: what can it do? you can say: glowing blue of course. and we can touch it & feeling much better after wards...
...as you may have recognized, I like the movie, so watch it, if you get the chance!
This movie had a weird effect on me, some weeks ago (seven years after having seen it), I needed to begin playing saxophone and some days after, a story about a stone such as the one in the movie obsessed me, I'm going to write a novel based on it.
I don't really know why but this movie, and only this movie, changed my life.
The actress is so beautiful she'll hardly come out of my head too, and I find Harvey Keitel very good in this movie, he fits his role perfectly.
My first impression - this film has a lot of Krzysztof Kieslowski spirit. I can see the same sadness of loneliness in Mira Sorvino's eyes as in Irene Jacob eyes in "Double life of Veronique". LULU tells the same story - how lonely we are on this planet.
Second impression - the movie is similar to "The Sixth Sense" in matter of post mortem life. It's hard to guess what is real, and what is imagination.
Great movie for thinking people. Very positive surprise. And Lou Reed as "not Lou Reed" - great joke.
The large, talented cast of "Lulu on the Bridge" can't overcome some of the problems the film presents. The mixture of a thriller with esoterica sounds like an intriguing idea for a film, but as one witness the movie unfolds it's clear these elements don't mix well together under the director's guidance with the screen play he wrote. The film has moments in which it transcends and shows a promise of working, but in the end, it's too contrived for its own good.
Even an intense performer like Harvey Keitel is bogged down by a character that doesn't awake much interest in the viewer. Mira Sorvino is, in our humble opinion, terribly miscast. There is no chemistry between the two main characters. William Dafoe, Victor Argo, Vanessa Redgrave, Lou Reed, Gina Gershon are seen in minor roles.