Twin set: Andy Garcia plays two roles in Steal Big, Steal little

Intended as a great epic of a film. Andy Garcia's latest venture rolls across a whole host of themes. from filial love to the corrupting influence of money with such unrelenting energy that it is nearly enjoyable. The problem with Steal Big. Steal Little however. is that for all its range it has no depth. When a film wants to project a utopian vision as keenly as this one does it is a plea on behalf of the traditional community and yet is inattentive to the detail of life. the result is naive. sentimental and embarrassing.

Garcia plays the two leads. twin brothers Robby Martin and Ruben Martinez. That Robby has anglicised his surname is a sign that he has sold his soul to the American devil. the pursuit of profit. Ruben. by contrast. respects his Latino roots and is a wiser. happier and ultimately more successful man for it.

The plot deals with the brothers' enmity. centring on the ownership of a huge ranch which Ruben has inherited. On paper. this story is coherent enough. but the telling of it is over-complicated by numerous sub-plots and semi-plots. and overall it‘s a real head-spinner. The device which director Andrew Davis better known for action thrillers like ('Ilain Reaction. Under Siege and The Fugitive uses to keep a grip on things is of the video-interview. which recalls events retrospectively. That way. a mere sentence can make the link between one sequence and another. Unfortunately this is not clarifying. but seems a last-ditch attempt to unify a very disorganised film. (Hannah Fries)

Steal Big. Steal Little {/2} (Andrew Davis. US. [996) Andy Garcia. Alan Arkin, Rae/tel 'lieotin. 94 mins. Front Fri [3 Dee. Limited general release.


When it was published a couple ot years ago, lorenzo Carcaterra’s ‘contessional’ novel Sleepers raised a huge swell of controversy over whether or not the writer’s assertion that the events described - with, of course, names and certain details altered - had indeed happened.

No one doubted that the early sequences, which evoke the hot summer days ot Hell’s Kitchen in the 60s, were based on Carcaterra’s childhood, or that the central section in which tour boys are sexually and psychologically abused by the guards in a juvenile detention centre highlighted the decay of a prison system out of control. Criticism tell heavily, however, on the story’s climax: now adults, two at the boys murder their chief abuser, prompting Carcaterra and the tourth boy, now an Assistant District Attorney, to hatch a plan whereby the killers are tound not guilty and the corrupt regime is exposed in open court.

Questions of truth or fiction are, to be honest, redundant when it comes to the film. Director Barry levinson has concocted a package that moves from nostalgic rites-ot-passage tale to tough prison ‘message’ picture betore linishing oil with an edge-ot-seat courtroom drama - three enduring and, in this case, brilliantly realised cinema genres rolled into one powerhouse of a movie.

The acting trom the all-star cast is magnificent - the underrated Jason Patric holds everything together as Carcaterra, Robert De Niro brings authority to the neighbourhood priest who becomes the key witness, Kevin Bacon oozes evil as the murdered guard and Brad Pitt convinces us and the jury that his all-American looks have hidden depths. The lilm is seamlessly edited, richly atmospheric and beautitully cratted, which makes it enjoyable on a second viewing, even when the all-important twists of the plot are known. (Alan Morrison)

Sleepers (10) (Barry levinson, US,

i 1996) Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Robert 3 De Niro, Dustin lloflman. 157 mins.

3 From Fri 3 Jan. General release.

Brad Pltt ln Sleepers: ‘hldden depths'

Laurel llolloman and lllcole Parker begin An Incredibly True Adventure





While she’s at work on two new projects livervthing So For. a ‘serio- comic drama‘ about a group of thirtysomethings ‘stumbling towards adulthood‘ and a script for Steven Spielberg‘s Dreamworks studio Man'a Maggenti’s l994-shot, l993-written feature True Adventure gets a belated

The film was warmly. if not rapturously, received at this year's Drambuie Edinburgh Film Festival. and is a sweet teen lesbian romance in the feel good vein of Beautiful Thing. The affair between a white girl from an all-

lesbian working-class family and a black girl living with her middle-class single mother is. ultimately. a little too cute for the cynic. although the two lead performances are engaging. While the film's finale is misjudged and the hysterical camp comedy inappropriate. these shortcomings are offset by some worthy points about race. class and sexuality. The alternative nuclear family is satisfyineg subversive. and Maggenti handles her debut feature with a light- handed comic touch that avoids diatribe or self-consciousness about its subject matter without forgetting where it's coming from. (Miles Fielder) The Incredibly True Adventure Of Two Girls In Love ( [5) (Maria Maggenti. US. I 994) Laurel Hollontan. Nicole Parker. Maggie Moore. 98 mins. Front Mon I 6-Wed [8 Dee. Glasgow: GFT



It choosing to remake a much-loved tilm is like walking down a path tilled with potential pot-holes, then turning an animated classic into a live action film is like discovering that the path now passes through a minefield. But it anyone can pull it all, one assumes Disney can. In their latest blockbuster, 101 Dalmatians, they partially succeed in capturing the atmosphere and charm of the first tilm, making up tor its flaws with an excess of campy overplaying and pantomime villainy. Glenn Close has tun as Cruella De Vil, boss of a haute couture tashion house in London who admires the designs ot employee Anita (Joely Richardson) but admires Anita’s Dalmatian Perdy even more. lite takes an unexpected turn when Anita meets tellow Dalmatian owner Roger (.lett Daniels), and the two embark on a whirlwind romance and marriage alter a single kiss - only in the movies and Michael Jackson’s lite. Soon there is an announcement of a happy event, for not only is Anita expecting, but Perdy is with puppy

too. Cruella slavers at the thought oi being able to at last create a Dalmatian skin version at one other tavourite designs.

Sticking tairly close to the plot of the original, Stephen llerek’s tilm possesses much charm and wide appeal, but also highlights the problems in so literal a translation to live action. What is Gothic and horritlc in an animation can come across as overplayed with live actors, where the grip on reality is so much tighter.

Containing many moments that will doubtless raise a smile, 101 Dalmatians also raises an eyebrow tor its American view of Britain (nannies, Big Ben, military bands in the park). As a pantomime it works well enough: younger audiences will cower at Cruella, laugh at dog-nappers Jasper and Horace - llugh laurie and Mark Williams almost steal the tllm - and go ‘ahhh’ at those darned cute puppies. It you’re expecting anything more, then you’re obviously looking at the wrong tilm. (Anwar Brett)

101 Dalmatians (0) (Stephen llerdr, US, 1996) Glenn Close, Joe/y Richardson, Jeff Daniels. 103 mins. From Fri 13. General release.

Puppy love: Jett Danlels in 101 Dalmatlans

28 The List 13 Dec 1996-9 Jan 1997