The Universe and Me

Monday, September 19, 2005

Exposition Falls

Movie: Empire Falls. With such an all-star, talented cast, what was there not to like? And the answer is: plenty! The continual voiceover narration was as dull as watching paint dry or watching the characters actually painting. The dialogue was stilted and awkward and as bogged down by exposition as the voiceovers. Helen Hunt shouldn’t have bothered trying to affect a Maine accent. It sounded like she was from Brooklyn instead. Asking me to believe Ed Harris is anything like ineffectual is impossible. The book and screenplay’s author, Richard Russo, must truly hate cats. While I’ve known some psychotic felines in my time (and presently live with one), none of them behaved like rabid monkeys. Talk about unfair portrayals. The big shocking ending was too quick and seemed misplaced, like it belonged in a different movie. Three and ½ hours was at least two hours too long. Severe editing may have helped the lethargic monotony. Having read the book might have helped me care about the characters, but the movie sure didn’t make me ever want to read the book. Philip Seymour Hoffman may have been engaging in his small role here, but it’s more worth noting he’s already creating an Oscar buzz with his performance in the upcoming Truman Capote biopic. I expect that film is much more entertaining.


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