DRAMA Finding Forrester (12) 136 mins

A troubled young genius finds a mentor in an older man with demons of his own. Does this sound familiar? Well, Gus Van Sant's new movie is a blatant copy of his first mainstream success, Good Will Hunting. Even the title is an echo. This time around, however, rather than a maths prodigy and his shrink, the prickly pair are a teenager from the Bronx and a reclusive Salinger- like writer.

Jamal Wallace (newcomer Rob Brown) is a gifted sixteen-year-old black kid from the South Bronx. At home he scribbles his thoughts in a series of notebooks, but at school he does just enough to get by without drawing attention to himself. Among his peers, he earns respect with his prowess on the basketball court. But he blows his cover when he excels on an aptitude test and finds himself recruited by an elite Manhattan prep school. Around the same time, his talents also come to the attention of a curmudgeonly figure who spies through binoculars on the neighbourhood and never leaves his apartment. The recluse turns out to be Sean Connery's William Forrester, a Pulitzer Prize- winning author who disappeared from view decades ago. But after

Jamal breaks into Forrester’s home on a dare, the older man grumpin takes the younger under his wing. Both, of course, learn from each other Jamal hones his writing gifts, while Forrester gradually emerges from his shell. Finding Forrester is an immensely frustrating film. Parts of it including the fine jazz score are excellent. Connery breathes life into a character constructed almost entirely from cliches (we can tell he's quirky and eccentric because he wears his socks inside out), while Brown gives a naturalistic and affecting performance as Jamal. But the film’s mix of indie pacing and camerawork with Hollywood gloss and sentimentality never really gels.


The Legend Of Bagger Vance

(PG) 126 mins

With his Sixth film as a director, Robert Redford returns to one of his favourite themes a quaSi-mystical sporting pursurt as a metaphor for life. In The Natural the sport was baseball, A River Runs Through It revolved around fly- fishing, this time, it’s golf.

As its title suggests, The Legend Of Bagger Vance is a fable the tale of a

More sporting metaphors from Redford mysterious caddie who acts as a guardian angel to a burnt-out golfer and gurdes him towards redemption. Redford Surrogate Matt Damon is the story's fallen golden boy, Ranulph Junah. In 1916, he was the pride of Savannah, Georgia, Winning every golfing tournament in sight. But he returned from the war a broken man, gurlt-rrdden for survrvrng The years pass for Junah in an alcoholic haze. Then in 1931, he is coaxed back to the links to take part in a golf match being organised by his former love, Charlize

Connery, hish besh role in years

Good Will Hunting was clever, witty, even moving. Finding Forrester is so similar in intention it even has nearly identical scenes Will's put down of a supercilious Harvard graduate; Jamal’s embarrassment of his sadistic teacher - but the end result is totally bogus. Whereas the upper reaches of mathematics remain abstruse to all but a few, literary merit is far easier to judge. Finding Forrester tries to fudge things, fading down the sound when some brilliant prose is being read, but the rapt faces of the listeners aren't enough to convince us we are in the presence of genius. (Jason Best)

General release from Fri 23 Feb.

Theron's determined Southern belle Adele Invergordon, But how can Junah take on the greatest golfers of the day when he has lost his sWing? Step forward Will Smith’s enigmatic Bagger Vance.

Some Viewers Will be uncomfortable With the sight of a black man toting a White man's clubs, but although the film glosses over the realities of the era’s raCial politics, Smith’s caddie is far removed from a Stepin Fetchit. He’s more of a Zen master (or a Hindu god Steven Pressfield's novel, on Which the film is based, is a reworking of the Bhagavad Gitai, much given to such gnomic utterances as: ’Inside each and every one of us is Our one true authentic sWing’. Fortunately, Smith delivers this New Age babble With enough sly humour to puncture much of the film’s pomposrty

As one expects from Redford, The Legend Of Bagger Vance is long, leisurer paced and expertly crafted. As With a r0und of golf, some people Will be enthralled by the struggle to master the inner game, some Will be bored, While others Will simply enJOy the scenery. (Jason Best)

General re/ease from Fri 23 Feb.

new releases FILM


State And Main

(15) 102 mins

G'ser‘ that ‘rasc b‘e playwright» fi‘rr"“.iker' Dan 0‘ Iclan‘et has neter shred awai, tron‘ iarr‘basting Hollywood -- ‘zn the rr‘otion picture business the real nioIence {is} not what people do on screen, but what we do to raise the money and dope fiends, lushes, psychoneurot.cs and paedophiles populate this business its surprising that this satire on studio frlntmaking is relatively gentle Where Mamets film sCrrpt fOr his own Pulit.‘er prige- Winning play about cut-throat salesmen, Glengarrt Glen Ross, was more venomous than a rattlesnake, here his poison pen seems to have dried up In fact, this story of what happens when a Hollywood film crew overruns a sleepy liast Coast community is positively (apraesgue in its whimsical admiration of small town life

Captained by Mamet regulars William H Macy iplaying the ass-kicking/Iicking director of the fictional frlrn, The Old Mil/i and Rebecca Prdgeon IMamet's Edinburgh-born Wife, playing the town's love IIIIOlPSll, and also including the superb chameleon actor Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Mamet's alter ego, the screenWriter, the cast shine. And of c.0urse, Capraesgue comedy and Hollywood satire have strong track records, Watching old folks home-spinning philosophies on the porch and megalomaniac filmmakers gorng apeshit is fun There are two great ongomg gags in State And Main. One is the wry running commentary from two local old timers on the preparations to shoot the film, it's not long before they’re astutely analysrng box office figures in entertainment industry newspaper Variety The other gag concerns the reluctance of the film’s female star, heretofore proud to bare-all, to show her breasts, ’the public could draW a picture of them', the exasperated creW note.

However, the Whimsy and satire don’t sit well together, to a large extent they cancel each other out. That’s something mirrored in the film's plotting Initially, the easy-gorng locals and manipulating filmmakers are at odds With each other, but eventually they part exchange these characteristics to sort their own ends, the film gets made, the locals make a little cash. It’s an unsatisfying, anticlimactic ending. Ultimately, hard- nosed Mamet is no Capra, he should stick to What he does best: t0ugh Chicago gangsters and unscrupulous con men. (Miles Fielder)

GFT, Glasgow, Fi/mhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 76 Feb,

Surprisingly gentle Hollywood satire

IS Feb—1 Mar 2001 THE LIST 31