Two young men (Jon Cryer, Rick Stear) who have been friends since early childhood decide to go on a trip to find a third friend (Rafael Baez) who has long since disappeared. Stories they ... See full summary »
Two young men (Jon Cryer, Rick Stear) who have been friends since early childhood decide to go on a trip to find a third friend (Rafael Baez) who has long since disappeared. Stories they have heard indicate that the friend has been seen in an apparently rambling, incoherent state at Coney Island. Their trip leads them to a number of adventures involving the otherworld-like life at the Park and revelations related to their own pasts including the death of one's sister, a failed past relationship, financial failings, and alcoholism. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
WENT TO CONEY ISLAND...is the story of two adult best friends (Cryer and newcomer Rick Stear) who go looking for a high school buddy who is long missing and believed to be homeless. Their search brings them to Coney Island in March--a bleak, overcast landscape symbolizing their bygone youth and abandoned dreams.
The cinematography is stunning--the cloudy and captivating blues and grays of late winter. The atmospheric mise-en-scene plays a primary role in the film. The paint peeling, abandoned amusements, the deserted rides--all carry the hollow loneliness of a ghost town. Coney Island is frightening and glorious in all it's kitschy Americana run-down splendor!
The search for the lost pal takes the friends to the freak show, skeeball parlor, bumper cars, and under the boardwalk. When at last they find him, they are forced to grapple with taking action to help him treat his mental illness, and to help themselves out of the ruts (dead end jobs, alcoholism) that they have sunk to. The dialogue is rhythmic, humorous, and authentic.
Baez plays the homeless friend, Richie, with sensitivity. Rick Stear as Stan, the alcoholic, makes a passionate film debut. Pop-culture icon Jon ("Duckie") Cryer takes a serious turn as Daniel.
The flashback to the boys' "glory days" in a high school garage band--covering Adam and the Ants "AntMusic" (!)--is worth the price of admission!
It's refreshing to see a film that is well-written, socially conscious, and emotionally relevant. It is a far cry from the tired Hollywood "formula." I encourage all film-lovers to see it.
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