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At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.
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I really have no idea what motivates Sidney Lumet's choice of movies to do, even though I've read his book "Making Movies," which sheds a lot of light on his decision making process.
If I had to take a guess, I might say that perhaps he wants a variety, and doesn't calculate the risk involved with certain works that have obviously turned out to be major flops. Or maybe he does know the risk and he just doesn't care. Now remember, though I'm sure even the "master" critics have jumped on and trashed some of his better work, if you place something like "Prince of the City" or "Equus" next to "The Wiz," "Running on Empty" and "Serpico" next to "Critical Care," wow! I mean you are just asking for trouble.
Regardless, this guy is a filmmaker.
As with anything, there are people who will dog this and say it was slow and Lapaglia was over the top or whatever the multitude of criticisms may be, "the lighting created an unwanted mood" (by whose standards), "the script had flaws" (oh did it? What were they?) and the list goes on. However without getting into every nook and cranny available, I will just say if you enjoy a good drama, you may enjoy this.
For the decent side of Lumet's work, this is a pretty fair example and on every front, I think it works out okay. Do I have any criticisms? None worth more than "I liked it or didn't." I did in fact like it by the way. It might be considered standard fare or even dated a bit by some and as a result, not as powerful as it might be otherwise, but it is a good example of Sidney Lumet's better filmmaking and not a bad story to boot.
Dig Colm Feore's role here. I like this guy and though he's probably found in the shadows more than in the spotlight, he is one vastly talented actor. I caught him last year in the lead for "My Fair Lady" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada and though he really probably is an acquired taste, he is a talent to be reckoned with for sure. It would be nice to see him garner larger roles since talent like this sure seems wasted on bit parts.
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