JEFFERSON IN PARIS 3
While the costumes may be different, the repressed emotion and exquisite period detail remain the same, as this 18th century tale reveals its colours as unmistakably a Merchant-Ivory film - before too long. Unfortunately ‘too long’ is a phrase that comes to mind frequently during a sometimes fascinating, more often flaccid, view of America’s third President during his period as American Ambassador in 17803 Paris.
Jefferson (effectively played, surprisingly, by flick llolte) watches with curiosity as France hurtles towards bloody revolution, sometimes astute in his judgement, sometimes amazingly wide of the mark, but always confident in the superiority of his own fledgeling republic where all men are born equal. He has a hard time squaring that commendable ideal with his ownership of slaves, however, and while he proves himself a benevolent master - even granting them a salary for the time they are in Paris — he cannot bring himself to
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propriety yet conducts a flirtatious ; liaison with the married Marla Gosway ; (Greta Scacchi), and later takes to his
1 he has several children.
Silent Fall: ‘two-pronged mystery plot'
change his ways totally. A similar contradiction exists in his private life, as he appears to be a model of
bed a beautiful mulatto slave (Thandie llewton), by whom, the story alleges,
Jefferson In Paris can offer glimpses of Merchant-Ivory at their best, but these are only glimpses, as quality and cleverness cannot disguise the dullness of a plodding narrative. Given the coldness and distance of some of the characters, together with director
Ivory’s lack of urgency in telling the story, the biggest enjoyment comes not during the moments of snatched
intimacy that is the story’s real focus, .
but in the background of the various historical crossroads that the film passes with regularity. The view has become better than the journey itself. (Anwar Brett)
Jefferson In Paris (12) (James Ivory, US, 1995) flick llolte, Greta Scacchi, Thandie llewton. 140 mins. From Fri 23. General release.
M ; produce the goods soon. or rival psychiatrist Dr Harlinger (John
Take a bit of Witness and a twist of The Client. add some Rain Man and a TV- movie-of-the-week starting point. and you‘ve got a mixed genre product that pops a couple of the stitches holding it
Soul-troubled psychiatrist Jake Rainer (Richard Dreyfuss) has quit working with children ever since his techniques backfired and one kid drowned himself. However. when the local sheriff (the omnipresent J.T. Walsh) calls in a favour. the good doc finds himself too intrigued to stand back. A prominent
husband and wife have been brutally murdered. and the only eye witness is autistic nine-year-old Tim (Ben Faulkner). It's up to Jake to find the key that will unlock Titn’s memory of the night in question. and to this end he‘s supported by the youngster‘s sexy teenage sister, Sylvie (Liv Tyler). But
‘ there‘s a deadline: Jake has got to
HA R R)
Greta Garbo may have wanted to have been left alone. but that wish has never been heeded by hordes of writers. Barry Paris's (ittt'ho: A Biography (Sidgwick & Jackson. £20) takes us extensively through the locations in which she lived out her life. while assessing the films. the behind-the-scenes stories and the impact of both. He has. however. tnade the most of the personal documents and telephone tapes entrusted to him. Better than most. he has come close to getting beyond cinema‘s greatest enigma and into a unique soul that spent fifty long years out of the spotlight's glare.
Paris also has a hand in Tony Curtis: The Autobiography (Mandarin. £599). but not in any traditional ghostwriting capacity. Instead. his personal views on Curtis‘s films and supplementary interviews with fatnin and colleagues are inserted into the text in a different typeface as additional commentary. Curtis's own approach also throws off any expected shackles of movie star as raconteur. At times crude. always funny. he dissects fatne and fortune. eager — over- eager. perhaps — to share his ups and downs with the reader. Like him or loathe him. you can‘t stop listening to him.
Jefferson In Parisi ‘moments of snatched intimacy’ ;
.’ Lithgow) will force the information out of the kid by using special drugs. While there‘s something a little uncomfortable about using an autistic boy as the tnain prop in a tnurder . thriller. Silent I-‘(tll has a lot going for it. not least an appealing. rounded character performance by [)rey fuss. Lhrfottunately. when the climactic revelations are made about the former. the film then goes into melodramatic overdrive. shoving in unlikely twists ' just because that‘s what's expected of a mainstream thriller. it all plays out in a self-contained genre-land detached from reality. just like The Hand 'l/tut Rocks The Cradle and its clones. But unlike that movie. it's the build up that‘s worth watching and the ending that's a disappointment. (Alan Morrison) Silent I’ull ( l5) (Bt‘tit't’ [mm/mil. US. I994) Ric/tun! [)reyfuss. lien Faulkner: l.iv 73-1.»: /()l mins. From Fri [6. General release.
With Eddie Murphy’s star on the wane, Hollywood, in the shape of Beverly Hills Cop producers Simpson and Bruckheimer, has been in need of a new black cop franchise. Bad Boys just might be it. Teaming TV stand-up Martin lawrence and rapper-cum- sitcom star Will Smith (The Fresh I Prince Of Bel Air) as Miami drug squad 5 officers, Michael Bay’s actioner takes ' Murphy’s wisecracking character, ) doubles it - making one half a family I man, the other a ladies’ man - and i then watches them play off each
other. When a criminal mastermind — European naturally (Tcheky Karyo) - steals the entire contents of the : police drugs store, detectives Burnett t and lowrey (lawrence and Smith) find their only lead is the flatmate of one 3 of lowrey’s girlfriends (Tea leoni), 3 who also witnessed the gang commit a : murder. Unfortunately, she will only }
speak to lowrey, who is out of the office at the time, and so Burnett has to pose as his partner until the
4 baddies are caught and she can testify.
An obvious farcical ploy, but in the
j hands of Lawrence and Smith, it ' works. As they follow a trail of dead
bodies to the culprit, the role
; reversals forced on both of them - ; lowrey goes home to Bumett’s wife
and kids every night - start to take 3 their toll. Both actors exploit the comic possibilities, with leonl a bit of a spare limb, and the Miami Vice-style photography and locations do not detract overmuch from their bickering relationship. llnlike Beverly Hills Cop, the situation here is less important than the characters, giving this particular action comedy solid sequel potential. (Simon Wardell)
Bad Boys (18) (Michael Bay, 08,1995) Martin lawrence, Will Smith, Téa leoni. From Fri 16. General release.
If nothing else of worth appears in print on the back of the 100th anniversary of the first public film screening (which seems extremely unlikely). at least we will have had Chronicle Of The Cinema ( Dorling Kindersley. £29.95). A \ ibrant. comprehensive. year-by-year. ‘as it happens” mixture of newspaper-style reports. key events. and lavish stills and illustrations. it is as far from a stuffy history book as anyone Could wish for. This is a loud celebration of a truly populist medium. which captures the sense of excitement of this fast-
! developing art form. frotn the Lumiere brothers' first
; experiments through to
.' the latest sfx. from early
, 5 silents to (yes. it qualiﬁes)
" Shallow Grow. A delight.
Bad Boys: ‘solid sequel potential' i (Allin MUM-*0“)
The List l6-29 Jun I995 23