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Michael T. Weiss,
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F. Murray Abraham,
Adapted from a stage play by Anne Nelson, a drama centering on a slice of the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Nick, a fire captain, who lost eight men in the collapse of the World Trade Center, enlists help from an editor, Joan, to prepare their eulogies. Nick builds a relationship with Joan, who helps him put together the difficult, heartfelt speeches that he must deliver with honor, humor and poise--all the while, navigating his way through his own emotional response. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I knew then that every time I saw a person on the street, I saw only his public shadow. The rest, the important part, lived in layer after layer beyond my view. We have no idea what wonders are hidden in the people around us.
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I was biased when I got to around seeing this film. The film is based on a play (a two person play also starring Weaver with different actors portraying the fire captain, including for a time, Bill Murray), which I saw in early 2002 in lower Manhattan -- not too far from the events discussed. I do not think where I live add too much to the viewing in most ways, but the locale, time period, and coziness of the medium did. The play felt just right. The movie was a bit off.
The material does transfer pretty well. It's simple story that takes place soon after the tragedy, a writer/resident of Manhattan trying to deal with the events like everyone else, a writer who is asked by a fire captain to help him write eight eulogies for his men that died that day. The leads are excellent. The core material powerful.
The medium, however, was film. This is dangerous sometimes when the source material comes from somewhere else, be it television or the stage. And, we saw this here -- a desire to use film, and not just have a filmed stage play. Part of this works -- collages of the writer on the train with her kids, walking, and so forth. All the same, some of it does not -- it is filler, her talking to a counterman, two fireman (truly extraneous, given the story), and so forth.
In fact, I think the movie is actually a bit shorter than the play ... it is only 87min with the opening, closing, and that filler material. I was perfectly fine with just the two actors, including a touching eulogy scene. And, the material felt a bit fresher on the stage as well. I was somewhat disappointed actually, though I still enjoyed it overall.
Maybe, it's like reading the book first ... but still, I think something is missing here.
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