Review Date: September 15, 1999
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer: Alan Ball
Producers: Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks
This film is original in story, interesting in premise, acted sharply by its well-rounded cast, directed in a manner made all the more absorbing, and edgy and humorous enough to keep me going, despite some pseudo-existential stuff floating around from time to time. Before I go on any further, let it be said that an actor by the name of Kevin Spacey rocks! Okay, now that I got that off my chest, let's go on. Many are comparing this film to the highly praised 1997 film ICE STORM (5/10), but despite some general similarities, I found the latter film to have very little surface and too much esoteric depth, while this one delivers a fresh, livelier outlook on its subjects, despite their obvious miseries.
Don't get me wrong, there were some moments in this film when I did find myself rolling a little of the eyes, especially when it concerned scenes between the weird (A little too strange for my taste) neighbor kid, and the daughter. But whenever Spacey took center stage, man stand back, cause that bastard sucked me right back into the thick of things! Having said that, this film is definitely an "adult" film to be savored by people who are in touch with themselves and appreciate a frank, sometimes brutally honest, look at their pathetic and drab existence. I personally enjoyed the strong performances by the cast, especially Spacey and the friend of his daughter (And yes, I wanted to nail her also!), the finale, which seemed like it was going one way but then kept curving back every now and again, and the dark humor, which filled many of the scenes. Certainly an overly valiant effort from first time director Sam Mendes, who seems to have a solid grasp on the pulse of characters going through varied difficulties in their lives. Admittedly, I went into this film with mucho expectations, so don't take my nitpicking too seriously. Check it out for yourself and see how you feel. It may just help you appreciate certain aspects of your life much better. Just look closer... (Sorry, but I had to!).