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|Jack Goes Boating|
dir Philip Seymour Hoffman
scr Robert Glaudini
prd Beth O'Neil, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub, Emily Ziff
with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy, Salvatore Inzerillo, Richard Petrocelli, Shawna Bermender, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Count Stovall, Oliver Foot-E', Harry L Seddon
release US 17.Sep.10, UK 8.Jul.11
10/US Overture 1h31
A quiet triumph: Hoffman and Ortiz
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
TORONTO FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Populated with a bunch of fragile characters, this sweet drama is assembled with skill and sensitivity. It's a clever look at how we struggle to do our best in life and relationships. Although sometimes the drama feels rather too wilfully "normal".
Naive and inexperienced, Jack (Hoffman) lives a solitary life driving a New York limousine. His best friend is fellow driver Clyde (Ortiz) who, with his sparky wife Lucy (Rubin-Vega), fixes Jack up with Lucy's quietly quirky colleague Connie (Ryan). When she mentions going boating, Jack has a bit of a crisis because he's terrified of water. But it's winter, so Clyde has a few months to teach him to swim. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to get a job with the public transportation system.
The relaxed, laid-back tone lets us know that this is a drama about feelings and moods. It's also a bundle of awkward moments and wry humour, all infused with Jack's hesitant approach and Hoffman's baby-like physicality. As a result, Jack seems both simple and mopey, although he's neither, and the film feels slack and aimless. Fortunately, the gifted actors create vivid characters who cope in often surprising ways with their intense mini-dramas.
Based on screenwriter Glaudini's stage play, Hoffman's direction maintains the intimate perspective while opening it out into the city. The camerawork is assured and clever, with deeply hued imagery and a moody score that add a touch of gloom even to sweetly charming scenes. Fortunately, there are constant subtle comical touches as we watch Jack's quiet tenacity as he learns to swim and cook so he can impress Connie.
Meanwhile, some intriguing side characters spark complex tension along the way, such as Lucy and Connie's gropey mortician boss (McCarthy) or an Italian chef (Inzerillo) who raises unresolved issues between Lucy and Clyde. But the film never quite leaves its literary roots behind; these are characters with a point to make, rather than the earthy, real people they seem to be. They never quite get beyond their most salient features, and as the plot cranks up to a slightly too-early crescendo, it gets harder for us to care.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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