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Levity
DVD disk
10.06.2004 By: JoBlo
Levity order
Director:
Ed Solomon

Actors:
Billy Bob Thornton
Morgan Freeman
Holly Hunter

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A man who killed a young boy when he was a lad himself, gets out of jail after serving 23 years and returns to the scene of the crime in search of redemption. First, he finds the sister of the murdered boy, then, he runs into a local community preacher, then, a "party girl" with little direction. Through the three encounters, the man attempts to stamp an end to his ongoing obsession with his heinous act.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Are you depressed? No, not yet? Well, if you want to get really depressed or feel a little depressed already and want to feel even more depressed, rent/buy this slow-moving film and bore yourself into submission. LEVITY is one of those dry movies that doesn't really have any story per se, as much as it follows the lives of a few different characters over a period of a few days. Unfortunately for us, despite a couple of interesting characterizations, it doesn't really bring anything innovative, engaging or particularly enlightening to the forefront. In fact, it felt a lot like a Sunday Night movie about a guy seeking redemption, etc... Haven't we seen this a zillion times before? This topic has been covered with more insight on episodes of "Oprah", for God's sakes! I was hoping to get involved with the lead character's plight, but the film's overly glum score, pervasively dark mood and uninvolving set pieces, ultimately made me indifferent...much like its characters. Here's a typical exchange between characters: Character#1: "It's okay". Character#2: "What's okay?" Character#1: "Whatever." They hug. Wow. "Whatever" is right!!

I usually like Thornton and his disaffected characters, but the guy here is just completely out of it. I understand his position and all, but for the love of God...lighten up! (even Dunst's character tells him to do just that in several spots). In the end, I was still expecting to get something out of this languid journey, but nothing was really resolved at its conclusion either. I didn't get emotional, I wasn't surprised or curious and I certainly wasn't enlightened. I'm not sure what this movie was trying to say and considering the director's comments in the EXTRAS section below, I can certainly see why. I did like the acting jobs though, especially Dunst and Hunter, who were solid, as well as the cinematography, which was a nice wintertime look at my fair city of Montreal (yay!) Other than that, I guess I wasn't completely bored out of skull enough to shut it off, but then again....maybe that might've saved me from the disappointment that was the lame ending. All in all, an all-around weak effort. A film that seems to want to mean so much, but ultimately means and says very little.
THE EXTRAS
I'm generally a fan of commentary tracks because of my greater interest in the art of filmmaking, so despite the film not really doing much for me, I was however somewhat intrigued by its commentary track starring writer/director Ed Solomon, producer Adam Merims and editor Pietro Scalia. All three men were pretty subdued and soft-spoken, but offered a decent rhythm throughout and touched upon various topics concerning the film's production, background, casting and meaning. Much like I noted in my review, it didn't seem as though the director himself was 100% on what the film was supposed to be about or how certain "strings" were tied up in the end (in fact, his co-talkers asked him about specific interpretations on several occasions-- they would disagree about what certain scenes meant as well), but was honest enough to be forthright about his views. Overall, I enjoyed the track.

A 15-minute featurette about the film and its behind the scenes is also included, most of which features interviews with Solomon and the lead cast (yes, even the hot Dunst drops in for a few words) Solomon surprisingly admits to the film not really having a "message" or a "meaning", which makes me wonder why he was so gung-ho about making it for all these years (he initially put up part of his own house when he was trying to secure its financing). A decent featurette, but nothing mind-blowing. The film's trailer is also included, as well as two other trailers for Sony Pictures Classics' films.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Unless you want to break up with your better half, do NOT watch this as a "date movie" or on a weekend flick night. It's slow, a tad boring and doesn't really offer much of great insight, but does feature some decent actors and top-notch cinematography, as well as an interesting commentary track. I personally wouldn't recommend this film to anyone who is not spiritual, or at the very least, flirting with spirituality, but even if you are...proceed with caution and don't expect a deep emotional picture. Note: Our very own Arrow read for a part in this film.
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