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Robert Downey Jr.,
Natasha Gregson Wagner
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"While hospitalized with an extreme case of psoriasis, novelist Dan Dark reworks his first book in his head. Feverish, paranoid and prone to musical outbreaks, he confuses himself with his protagonist, a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles." Written by
Ten years ago Ang Lee made a terrific little movie. It had depth and resonance. Eight years later, some hack remade the movie in English, changing the Chinese family to a Mexican one. Using almost precisely the same script, it turned into a horrible, horrible little film. Soulless.
Now turn to this. The original "detective" was one of the best film projects in history. I have it on my list of films every living person should see. It is the only thing I have ever seen from TeeVee that is worth watching. Its construction is ineffable and deep: three realities, each of which co- creates the others.
Now shift to the mind of Mel Gibson, the fellow behind this project. He is incapable of understanding or even seeing depth, surely in projects like this. What he has done is take a story about stories and storytelling, about parallel interwoven realities, about the nature of creation, about the origin of invention in sex and pain...
... and replaced it with something that looks the same and has the same events, but which has all the nuance and life bleached out of it. Now, we have a completely understandable narrative about a man who imagines and remembers things. All is clear, all is simple.
This is the same man who at this same time was doing the same thing to a similarly rich and deep and inscrutable story, the one about Jesus.
This is a travesty, a pure travesty. I recommend the original, but not this.
Just as a side matter, the threads that tied the realities together in the original were the women. The redness of their hair mattered. A lot. There's a little tinkering here with red, not-red, but it is done clumsily, without intent.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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