Review Date: August 18, 1998
Director: Joseph Ruben
Writer: Wesley Strick and Bruce Robinson
Producers: Alain Bernheim and Steve Golin
Vince Vaughn as John
This movie is not a cut-and-paste moral drama that slowly places all the right pieces in front of you as you strand along. It's a well drawn-out story with interesting characters, real emotions, and several unforeseen curves thrown in for a deeper search of the soul. The twists keep the story from getting boring, but more than that, it is the actors that come through in blazing colours. Vince Vaughn delivers his best performance since his breakthrough role in SWINGERS (10/10), with a character that could easily have been played without much care, but instead, we find a well-rounded human being whose continually interesting to watch, and a joy to deconstruct. Granting that I've never been much of an Anne Heche fan should draw further notice to my acclamation of her rock-solid performance, while Joaquin Phoenix plays his part with a big heart and sensitive touch, likely to bring tears to your eyes.
The two negative points in this otherwise extremely compelling drama would be Jada Pinkett Smith's appearance and performance as the one-dimensional reporter with a dire need for acting lessons, and the uninspired and trite budding of romance among a couple of the characters. Other than that, make sure that you bring plenty of tissues, if you're the type of person that cries (Mrs. JoBlo is guilty as charged...again!), and prepare to be transported through some of the darkest passages of your consciousness, while attempting to complete the answers to some of the most personal questions rustling through this fine film. A summer blockbuster it is not, but a thought-provoking story, it is.