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Two stories, 14 years apart, converge in a suburb of New York. Manuel Esquema, an international financier, whose face is badly scarred, is flying from Miami to help a New York politician negotiate a plea bargain with the Justice Department. Years before, this financier was a fresh-faced cabaña boy at a Miami Beach resort who fell in love with a young woman on holiday with her husband. The husband is now the pol, and he thinks he dispatched the cabaña boy long ago. What are Esquema's plans: revenge, mercy, or a complicated plan to seek again the woman's love? Written by
Formula stuff - I've had more interesting nightmares!
Not a bad film, but by no means a good one either. Alan, a cabana boy at a Miami resort, meets and falls in love with Ella, a pretty, young trophy wife to Mark, a businessman. Mark is not happy when Ella discloses her affair with Alan to him, and....you can guess the rest. Predictable, by-the-numbers stuff without even any engaging performances. Joseph Fiennes is just miscast, plain and simple. He moves as though he has something rather large stuck you-know-where and his American accent, moreso than his Spanish accent, is just unconvincing. I like Joseph Fiennes plenty, but I did not buy him as the romantic, heart-throb his character was intended to be. Ray Liotta, on the other hand, is simply walking through his role, shades of 'GoodFellas' all over the place. Gretchen Mol, however, could carve out a nice little niche for herself playing the B-grade Drew Barrymore-Kim Basinger-Ashley Judd, when those stars are unavailable, uninterested or too expensive. She's got the girlish charm and bubbly giggle of Barrymore, the air-brushed good looks of Basinger, and the All-American beauty of Judd...and she's not afraid to get naked on screen, as evidenced here many times.
As for the rest of the movie, Paul Schrader's script is lazy and dull, full of lines that a third grader could've wrote. Too bad because Mr. Schrader has the film noir-ish tone down pat and the photography is great to look at. There's just nothing to occupy the space. We've seen all this before ('Body Heat' comes to mind as well as a slew of others) where this conventional set-up has clicked and provided for some tasty entertainment, but it does not do so here and the result is so-so. Oh, and the ending sucks. Skip it.
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