Several lost-soul night-owls, including a nightclub owner, a talkback radio relationships counseller, and an itinerant stranger have encounters that expose their contradictions and ... See full summary »
Lesley Ann Warren
Just released from prison, a young woman arrives in town to "start a new life", but soon begins stalking a married construction worker for no apparent reason, turning his life inside out and eventually terrorizing him and his wife.
Nick Hart is a struggling American artist who lives amongst the expatriate community in 1920s Paris. He spends most of his time drinking and socializing in local cafés and pestering gallery owner Libby Valentin to sell his paintings. He becomes involved in a plot by wealthy art patroness Nathalie de Ville to forge three paintings. This leads to several run-ins with American rubber magnate Bertram Stone, who happens to be married to Hart's ex-wife Rachel.Written by
Alan Rudolph does not make movies for everyone to see. His movies seem like personal projects that interest him at the time. Some of his movies I haven't been able to get involved in (Trixie, Mortal Thoughts, Afterglow) but with The Moderns, I was pulled in quickly. The story focuses on Keith Carradine's ex-patriot Nick Hart, a painter who has the ability to duplicate famous works of art with his brush. He's hired to create forgeries by Mademoiselle de Ville (Geraldine Chaplin).
But the story doesn't stop there. There are other ex-patriots around, including young Ernest Hemingway, comically portrayed by Kevin J. O'Connor; who is constantly drinking, philosophizing and pursuing women. It's not a flattering look at Hemingway, but somehow it adds to the whole ambience of the film and seems to ring true. And then there is Linda Fiorentino, a former lover of Nick's, and her husband, the rich and icy Bertram Stone (John Lone). The characters are odd and quirky, the story is uneven at times, and meanders a bit, but it is never boring. This movie has such style and depth that it pulls the viewer in, like we're trying to see the work that is under the painted canvas. That's what this movie is about -- the greater depth of art. What is art and what is crap? What is love and what is hate? What is real and what is illusion? As a director, Alan Rudolph pulls us along cleverly, with a hint of intrigue, the dichotomy of Nick's love and Hemingway's carousing, a taste of passion and the beauty of art. Then there are the characters who are well-layered works of art themselves. Maybe this movie isn't a masterpiece, but it leaves us chipping away at the paint trying to see what treasure is underneath. It's a movie to be enjoyed
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