Unbelievable dialogue makes for refreshing fun
10 May 2001
Not Hartley's best, though I still rate it a ten. Hartley began his odd spin on movie dialogue with this (not quite) debut film. Adrienne Shelley is beautiful and perfectly cast--it's very difficult to tell if she is a brilliant actress or merely brilliantly directed. Martin Donovan (for him it's not difficult to tell--he's brilliant) is understated, yes, everyone says that, and mysterious. The B Movie backup cast leaves something to be desired, but somehow that helps propel this odd little gem. Only David Mamet has the same level of idiosyncratic brilliance in scripting dialogue which, while not particularly true to life, is refreshingly new and always entertaining. Hartley revels in repetition and the use of the pause. People don't talk like this, but then again, they do, just not in films. 'Henry Fool' and 'Book of Life' are his best, but this early work is indispensable.
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