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The plot of "Tempo" sounded really promising, but the end result is quite frankly horrible. The acting on the part of Hugh Dancy is acceptable, as for Cook it is not up to the standard of her other performances. In all their character's relationship seems utterly unbelievable. Watching Melanie Griffith in Tempo though was a sad experience I could have done without. I remember her from films such as "Working Girl" were she was witty, funny and sexy. In "Tempo" she acts like she is wearing a mask. Her facial expressions are almost non-existent. Another fact that annoyed me with "Tempo" was the obvious lack of detail when it came to locations. The story is supposed to take place in Paris, why is it then that throughout the film, street signs are in German?? Even Munich does not look like Munich.
During the short and entertaining ride that is "Tempo", there's not one
scene where you can't help but thinking: "This looks like a movie made
for TV". Apparently, that's not the reality
In its cast it has
consecrated stars and other young and very talented actors that
wouldn't be uncomfortable at all with a "star" position.
Three main characters call all of the shots, when two women get too involved with a charming man and end up in a love triangle situation that includes a robbery, a police chase, guns and more elements than at least these characters expected to deal with. What the movie tries to say is that sometimes we don't measure our actions and we cross a line Yes, that line.
A film like "Tempo", with its typical storyline, must at least get you involved with the feelings of the main characters; and it doesn't fail in that department. The writing team includes L.M. Kit Carson (who once adapted the brilliant "Paris, Texas") joined by Jeremy Lipp and Jennifer Salt; writers of some clever and engaging TV series.
So the director Eric Styles seems to be the only one a little far from television between the crew (John McCarthy is basically a series composer) and although probably everyone said it already, he brings a lot of style to the table with his intensively focused cameras during some crucial shots and his fast motion management when the film finds its adrenaline moments. Helped a lot by cinematographer Robert Fraisse, Styles achieves the quality of the image that's as good as the film can offer.
A few things fail in the plot and with the general idea, which is why the movie doesn't become good; but the emotion you get from the first scene doesn't vanish at all, and you want the best for this flawed human beings. Rachael Leigh Cook, between the best actresses of her generation and more beautiful each day, gives a desperate tone to her character that makes us believe love can actually happen fast, when you're alone in some place and you need it.
However, her character is flawed because she is not able to think things twice. Hugh Dancy plays the young attractive man supported by an older woman that cares for him. Even when his character cares for the woman too, he allows himself to slip, considering he will resolve it in the end; but he's not able to do it, because he's flawed. Dancy portrays all of these shades solidly; yet he completely fails in achieving the American accent.
The older woman I mentioned before is the character played by Melanie Griffith. Griffith has always had to 'find' the role: "Milk Money", "Now And Then", "Forever Lulu" are some of the films in which the role fits perfectly for her; without mattering if the picture is good or not. "She always speaks the same way", I told my brother; and he said that people can't chance their way of speaking In "Tempo", the role fits for her and eventually fits for us; luckily.
Although the title of the film is somewhat reminiscent of the crime and
romance film 'Speed', and the film starts with a car chase, and the
viewer is constantly being reminded of the fast pace of life in the
French capital, the unfolding of the story is much more reminiscent of
'À bout de souffle', especially as it is set in the same city. 'Tempo'
does not achieve the brilliance of that French film, but it does not
attempt to copy it. It sets a love triangle as the focal point of the
story, and adds in some more criminal characters to enhance the
difficulties that they main characters find themselves in.
After a cursory introduction to the three main characters in the car chase scene, the storytelling returns to eight days previously in order to relate the tale in its proper chronological sequence. The viewer is then introduced properly to Sarah, an insecure woman who is to a surprising degree likable despite her flaws, and Jack, who seems far too young for the relationship, but we learn more about the complexities as the film progresses. Melanie Griffith's portrayal of Sarah with her vulnerability and her positive attitude is the highlight of the film, but Hugh Dancy manages to make Jack's character very believable even with his increasing indecisiveness.
When Jack meets Jenny, they seem to fit together better, but Jack's love for Sarah lingers on. Jenny, played by Rachael Leigh Cook, is an intelligent young woman on her own in a far-off land, and falls in love as many young women in such a situation are wont to do. This mixture of intelligence and naivety is very similar to Jean Seberg's character in 'À bout de souffle', but Jenny is a far more down-to-earth person. Furthermore, Jack is an unassuming character, quite unlike Jean-Paul Belmondo's character in that film. The result is a sweet romance with the background of crime and another woman.
The fast traffic graphics which appeared now and then during the film were an unnecessary distraction. The photography was not the best feature, either.
The ending was surprising, dramatic and logical everything that you could wish, in fact.
The film combines a love story and a crime story much better than many more highly rated films.
Since Rachael Leigh Cook is one of my favorite actresses, I couldn't
to see her latest work. I know since Josie and The Pussycats that she
did direct-to-video movies and indies, and that was the opportunity to see
her again in a European setting...
This time, it's Paris. I was not very thrilled to see a déjà-vu subject of the love triangle, set on illegal antiques'smuggling business background, but with Rachael there, I might be in for a small treat...
The result here is partly entertaining. Eric Styles uses the flashback to tell the story as it begins in a car chase in central Paris. Mostly a story about betrayal, survival and mostly choosing between love and reason.
An antiques smuggler works for a rich mob dealer. She is sent for a contract in Germany in order to get paid and then refund a debt to another mob member. In the meanwhile, her boyfriend falls in love with a jewellers'boutique employee, Jenny. Unfortunately, when the lady smuggler comes back, she catches her lover in the act. However, her smuggling didn't do well and she must comes up with the money to reimburse the mob guy in order to save her life. For revenge, she intends to use her boyfriend's mistress naive nature for a night heist at the jewellery shop to refund her debt. Will it succeed ?
Performances are okay: Rachael Leigh Cook (with an audacious caracter going beyond the simple kiss...), Hugh Dancy and Malcolm McDowell are doing good here but Mrs. Griffith lacks the charm she had many years ago with movies like Body Double and Working Girl. Too sad for such an actress who stills have some sexy assets at her 40s...
The story's okay, and it's good fare compared to recent releases who are with big budget but with low quality.
Watch it for fun, and gaze the streets of Paris with Ms.Cook !
In France, Sarah (Melanie Griffith) is a courier of illegal pieces of
arts and antiques, living in a borrowed apartment with Jack (Hugh
Dancy), a man younger and younger than she. While Sarah is traveling to
Munich to bring a rare coin to the criminal Walter Shrenger (Malcolm
McDowell), Jack meets Jenny Travile (Rachel Leigh Cook), a silly and
irresponsible American girl, who works a fancy jewelery, and they have
an affair. Jenny falls in love for him, and exposes the code and the
secrets of the store to Jack. Meanwhile, Sarah is stolen in the train
in her travel back to Paris, and has to raise US$ 80,000.00 in two days
to pay for the lost. She convinces Jack to rob the jewelery with her to
raise the money. However, things do not happen how planned.
The premise of "Tempo"is not bad, and it could be a good thriller. However, there are many flaws in the screenplay. The character of Sarah is not well developed, and the viewer does not know why she has this type of life, their motives for such a dangerous work, and it is impossible to sympathize with her. Further, the face of Mellanie Griffith is completely destroyed after plastic surgeries, and affects her expressions. There is one site (awfulplasticsurgery.com) relative to awful plastic surgeries in famous people, and unfortunately the surgeries of Mellanie Griffith are mentioned there, showing her lovely and gorgeous face before the plastic surgery, and how she is now. I do not understand how a woman so beautiful like she was can be so deformed! With regard to Jenny, how such a stupid woman can work in a fancy place, being responsible for expensive jewels? How the store does not have cameras for surveillance? How can a woman work in such fancy jewelery wearing jeans, instead of elegant costumes? Rachel Leigh Cook is also horrible in this movie, with long curled hair and ugly clothes. The costume designers were very negligent with the character of Jenny. Last but not the least, the sexual attraction of two women for Jack is a key point in this story. However, the sex scenes are not erotic, and could be better and better. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "Tempo Um Questão de Sobrevivência" ("Time A Question of Surviving")
At first look, Tempo has the appearance of a low budget European or
film. While there are some stunning shots of Paris, the overall quality
the film and its special effects are less than average. However, if you
get past that, you discover a great performance by Melanie Griffith.
Although you know that you are not suppose to like her character,
quality of vulnerability has you rooting for her character. Her whispery
voice is put to work here in which every man alive just wants to protect
her. Her co-star Hugh Dancy also does well in this film and is very
believable, while Rachael Leigh Cook doesn't fair so well. I just didn't
buy the chemistry between her and Dancy. Although Griffith is old enough
play Dancy's mother, she had much more chemistry with him.
While the film will never win an Oscar, and may be predictable, it is a great renter. In fact, what surprises me is something like Tempo doesn't get a theatrical release, but on the other hand we have to put up with garbage like The Guru.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First of all, I would like to agree with certain individual's thoughts
that the roles were not fully fleshed because there is no question that
this is applicable in this instance however, despite the fact that we
were not given the reasons why the truly dazzling creature Jack had
chosen to squander his talents by getting wrapped up in the dangerous
business of art theft, there were certainly things that worked in this
film. First of all, though not completely credible, it was passionately
entertaining and engaging and at the same time that you found yourself
despising these characters, you found yourself adoring them almost in
the same breath. Well to be honest, I cannot honestly say that there
was anything to loathe about any of the main characters and even the
elderly lady, was a figure who evoked empathy.
There is no question that this film sizzles with sensuality, which I would honestly have to admit is a larger part of its charm and Dancy is truly included in that interpretation, il est tres beau, qui? First of all, this is shot almost entirely on location and that in itself defies description as Paris is nothing if not dazzlingly scenic. Apparently a number of the exteriors were shot on location in Germany as someone indicated spotting (great eye!) street signs in German throughout the film, still it does not detract from the visual appeal and the rustic shots that we received when Jack whisked Jenny the lovelorn ditsy mademoiselle away to the French countryside, positive perfection and left me longing for a picnic in Provence. So yes, despite the fact that character and script development are not topnotch here, this film works in the respect that it allows you to escape if only for an hour to an exotic place where the scenery is fairytale perfect.
Do I actually believe that a man like Jack could desire a woman like Sarah and do I think that he would choose her over the more than a tad ridiculously irresponsible college girl Jenny? I do not think there is any question that Jack would not want to stay loyal to someone who seemed to care so intensely for him and my greatest problem with that not excluding this guy's inability to control his libido when Sarah left town on her illicit mission, was the fact that he allowed himself to be seduced by some chickadee he had not even known for a week! It is true that Dancy's character Jack is appealing both physically and emotionally, as he seemed incredibly well mannered and sensitive for the most part. So yes, his charm is certainly of the effervescent variety, irresistibly intoxicating however, Jenny only seemed interested in Jack's lovemaking abilities, where were the girl's morals I wondered? It is true that Jack didn't fight her off but I truly believe that the reasons why he pursued Jenny and allowed her to seduce him in one single night, was more of a knee jerk reaction to the fact that he believed Sarah, the woman who owned his heart was cheating on him with a man in Majorca. Let us face it, some people definitely operate on a revenge type basis and whenever someone hurts them in anyway, they are going to make certain that they find a way to get back at that person in whatever way possible. I do believe that Jack was at once remorseful for his actions as it was revealed in the end when he chose Sarah over Jenny. I think Jenny's "love" for Jack was more the first blush of infatuation and from the actions that this girl resorted to in her blind pursuit of Jack, who she pounced every chance she had, reality was never a part of the equation. Before I call this a wrap, let me just say that I think that despite the age difference that exists between Griffith and Dancy, they sizzle like prawns on a grill and definitely bring the heat better than the other pairing. I did not see scorch factor between Jenny and Jack perhaps because it seemed so contrived, like the girl could not resist the man or something! It was a sensationally pivotal moment when Sarah told Jack that he wasn't on a leash or anything. Perhaps, that allowed Jack to see what a mistake he had made in sleeping with some stranger he had only just met. From the tender way Jack was with Sarah before her departure, it looked a lot like love and not a tad like gratitude, which is what I feared at first, for typically when you have the younger man, older woman dynamic, writers tend to paint it as if it's a pact between two individuals who are only together out of desperation. In this film however, it seemed to be about two people who were entirely besotted with each other and I actually would say that the pairing of Jack and Jenny was one of hopelessness, not the other way around and that in my opinion, gave this film its distinctive edge. I think it is about time that people realize that human beings can truly be beautiful at any age, and besides, in the end isn't beauty a totally subjective thing and almost always a matter of the eye of the beholder, n'est pas?
All in all, I would rate this film a C+ for character development and an A- for storyline content, which is why I chose to rate it an 8, for although it is not the best grape in the bunch it is indisputably a far cry from being a Gala sporting bruises besides Dancy seems to have that gift of making anything palatable and in this film, there is no difference. Bon Appetite!
I used to love Melanie Griffith. She was so sexy and lovable in "Fear
"Body Double", and "Something Wild", yes even in the rotten "Cherry 2000"
still loved her. In Tempo I lost my love, to the knife! Tempo shows the
waste of money that is plastic surgery all over Melanie's face. A
waste of money and the ruin of a beautiful talent. Disgusting!
So is this movie. All that eurotrash money can buy is a deeply flawed script with mediocre performances by many involved. Rachel Lee Cook is as good as she could be given the circumstance of her character. She plays an American student on sabbatical in Paris who, although she does not speak French, is hired by and then immediately given the keys and codes to a jewelry store to satisfy the plot! When the store is robbed the Parisian police open fire on the thieves during a car chase inside the city. Besides the fact that they have not established the car contains thieves or criminals I doubt any modern Western police force would use guns in the situation exposed. The rest on the script is filled with many other unbelievable occurrences, all while expecting the viewer to take it seriously! Looks big budget but never opened theatrically in the US. The DVD release was announced for Summer 2003 but has now been delayed indefinitely, lucky for you! I wonder if Ms. Griffith's surgeons are bidding to keep it off the market? It certainly does not show their work in the best light.
As an alternative I would suggest a fun and light film that knows what it is- all fun! "The Guru" is now on DVD in case you missed it in the theaters!
"Sarah James (Melanie Griffith) lives on danger's edge every day as the
courier for a ruthless French black market dealer. Her boyfriend, Jack
Ganzer (Hugh Dancy), is a handsome, young American expatriate she's
seduced into becoming her partner in crime. But, when Jack unexpectedly
meets and falls for Jenny Travile (Rachael Leigh Cook), a sexy but
seemingly naive jewelry shop clerk, he quickly finds himself trapped in
a treacherous love triangle filled with suspicion, vengeance, and
murder. This riveting thriller will keep you guessing until the very
end," according to the DVD sleeve description.
"Tempo" opens with its exciting car chase climax, then goes into flashbacks leading up to there. Possibly, they had no other way to begin this movie. Next up, you get mild erotica with Ms. Griffith, as the still sexy older woman, wrapping her legs around Mr. Dancy, as the attractive young stud. And, that's about all there is to this downhill film. The chase winds up being the culmination of an unappealing heist storyline. Only Dancy shows skin throughout. Griffith gives her character more vulnerability than the film deserves. And, Ms. Cook is almost completely, and uncharacteristically, nondescript.
**** Tempo (6/10/03) Eric Styles ~ Melanie Griffith, Hugh Dancy, Rachel Leigh Cook, Art Malik
Melanie Giffith,(Sarah),"Tart",'01, played an excellent role of a very complicated gal with all kinds of mixed emotions about her life and her past relationships with men. However, Sarah is very much sexually involved constantly with Hugh Dancy,(Jack),"Shooting Days,",'05 who is very young looking and is a mixture of gigolo and con artist. There is wild graphics and great wild sounding music in the background along with a car chase all around Paris, France; which had me thinking about Princes Diana and her car crash for some unknown reason. Rachael Leigh Cook,(Jenny Travile),"My First Wedding",'04, plays a very young inexperienced American gal who left her family and got a job in Paris and happens to run into Jack; who manages to take her "CHERRY" away from her and she goes ballistic in Love with him and can't wait to get his clothes off whenever they meet. Melanie Griffith gave a great performance, however, her addictions have taken a great toll on her beautiful face, she is showing plenty of Crows Feet around the eyes and a burned out look.
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