Review Date: January 16, 2001
Director: Sean Penn
Writer: Jerzy Kromolowski & Mary Olson-Kromolowski
Producers: Sean Penn, Elie Samaha & Michael Fitzgerald
Jack Nicholson as Jerry Black
Robin Wright as Lori
Aaron Eckhart as Stan Krolak
The first story is a pretty standard murder mystery, while the other delves deep inside the psyche of a man faced with his own futility at the dawn of his retirement. Interesting enough on paper, but despite the film's engaging set-up, the whole midsection of the movie is simply overloaded with redundant scenes featuring bit parts by various actors, birds flying and a whole lot of scenery, which ultimately all add up to very little in the end. In fact, I remember turning to my friend at one point and remarking how "nothing" had basically happened in the past 45 minutes. And when I say "nothing", yeah sure, there was definitely stuff happening on the screen, but the film simply wasn't progressing. At that point, I was hoping that the film's conclusion would salvage some of its own misdirection, and add to the solid outing by Jack Nicholson, perfectly underplaying his role, the picturesque scenery and Penn's able, if not somewhat over-directed style, but alas, t'was not to be. The ending did nothing to help me complete the circle that was prepared by its lead character, and frankly left me quite frustrated and unsatisfied. I think I understand what Penn and the writers were trying to say with this ending, but God knows the film and its anti-climactic conclusion, did very little to either entertain or enlighten me either way. Montage after montage after montage after montage, all laced in a pile of sad songs, a very thin mystery and plenty of useless one scene cameos by "name" actors, mark this film as my first real disappointment of the new year. Note my previous scores to related films below and see if you and I are close in movie mindset.