In a small village on the border of Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland, the relationship between a short tempered policeman and his rebellious son becomes even more strenuous when the young man falls for a "wrong" girl.
An extremely rare bottle of wine (bottled during the appearance of the Great Comet of 1811) is discovered. Margaret Harwood is sent to retrieve it so it can be sold at auction. Oliver ... See full summary »
Penelope Ann Miller,
Emily Crane is fired after refusing to give names to a 1951 House Un-American Activities Committee, and takes a part-time job as companion to an old lady. One day her attention is drawn to ... See full summary »
Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a ... See full summary »
Murphy is the sole survivor of his crew, that has been massacred by a German U-Boat in the closing days of World War II. He lands on the shore somewhere on the river Orinoco delta and ... See full summary »
Jimmie Rainwood was minding his own business when two corrupt police officers (getting an address wrong) burst into his house, expecting to find a major drug dealer. Rainwood is shot, and ... See full summary »
F. Murray Abraham,
Gene and Finny are best friends and roommates, attending a prep boarding school in New England in 1942. Finny, a natural athlete, is charming and popular, while Gene is a very serious top ... See full summary »
"A Separate Peace" is one of my favorite books. An absolutely horrible film version was made of it in 1974, so I knew Showtime's updated version was virtually guaranteed to be an improvement. An improvement it is... but it could - and should - have been much better.
First the Good: Finny has got to be one of the hardest parts out there to cast. The part calls for natural athleticism and tremendous charisma a truly rare combination (especially in actors). Toby Moore was inspired casting. I have no idea who he is or where he came from. He had an almost impossible task, and he nailed it. The actors who played Gene and Brinker also performed admirably. If it had a script that stuck to the actual Knowles' story, this film might have been something very special.
Now to the Bad: Knowles' story is much more than a story about adolescent friendship and betrayal. It is about how a person can only find peace within himself when he is forced to face his own darkness. Finny, who knows only love and forgiveness, seems to be the only exception to this rule and because of that, he is destroyed by his best friend. By the end, Gene makes peace with Finny and finally finds peace within. The writer and director missed much of these key elements. Important scenes are brought to life beautifully, but we never really get inside Gene's head, so we can't understand how or why he achieves a 'separate peace.'
The writers also decided to omit the other key theme of the book: Finny as a representation of peace in world at war. While Finny talks like he was rearing to go to war, he in fact is unable to do so - because of his leg, but also because it is not possible for him to hate (as Gene describes in the final 'you'd be terrible in a war, Finny!' dialogue). Alas, none of it makes it into the film.
All in all, it was great to see a terrific performance by Moore as Finny, as well as some great scenes from the book brought to life (The Headmaster's Tea, The Winter Olympics, The Trial). However, I will still have to wait for a film to be made that is true to the spirit of this American classic.
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