DRAMA HEARTS IN ATLANTIS (12) 101 mins .00
Partial, partly-successful King adaptation
This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel dramatising the lives of various friends from the 19505 to the 70s only focuses on the first third of King’s tome. But what screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, All The President’s Men, The Princess Bride) and director Scott Hicks have chosen to focus upon is pure King territory: childhood, or
rather childhood’s end.
Much like another King adaptation, Stand By Me, Hearts In Atlantis describes the friendship of young children - here eleven-year-olds Bobby (Anton Yelchin), Carol (Mika Boorem) and Sully (Will Rothaar) - and focuses upon a life-changing moment in their lives. This is the appearance in Bobby’s home of Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins), a secretive though kindly man whom Bobby’s single, hard-up and somewhat unloving mother (Hope Davis) reluctantly takes in as a lodger. Ted becomes a father figure to Bobby, and during this time the boy learns Brautigan is on the run from government agents he refers to as ‘the low men’ who want to harness extra-sensory abilities he was born with.
This paranormal theme remains low key, however, with more time given to telling the story of Bobby’s move towards manhood. This last is defined through a typical King ploy in which the friends overcome their fear of the local bully (albeit with a little paranormal assistance from Ted).
Nice performances all round, although adapting a third of King’s book is too modest a goal, while the flashforwards which bookend the film, featuring an older Bobby, are a failed attempt at creating pathos. (Miles
Fielder) I General release from Fri 8 Mar.
\"JAR WE WERE SOLDIERS (15) 140mm .0
Based on the book lit/e Were Soldiers Once . . . Arid Young by Lieutenant General Harold Moore and newspaper correspondent Joseph Galloway. We Were Soldiers recreates the first major battle of Amertca's Vietnam war. In November ‘ 965 a battalion of the US Seaenth Cavalry Division was dropped by l‘.t3l:copter I." the la Drang valley. only to be Surrounded by some 2000 North Vietnamese sodzers. Under MOOre's command the outnumbered and outflanked American ‘Orces were forced to engage in hard-tc-nand combat with the‘r enemy.
There's r‘o Crztrcsm here of why America chose to f-ght an another country's nataoiialist c-vif war, wrth writer- director Randall lit/aliace who scnpted Brave/tear? and Pearl Harhon content to cmcentrate of the herOism and sacrifice of the combatants. MOOre himself p'ayed by Mel Gzpsonl Is practically canonised: he's the family man who loves his loyal wrfe lMadeline Stone and fave children. the Catholic who pays fo.r notn has men and h s opponents. the rir gen! student of rn’ tary l‘tstoiy and
24 THE LIST 22‘) Feb»- l/iztt 27/2
above all the inspirational leader under fire. Such paragons of Virtue rarely prove dramatically interesting. and nor are the film's supporting characters eduipped wrth any degree of ambiguity. The horrors of war may be gorin emphaSised in the over—extended battle sequences. but We Were Soldiers represents a politically correct and troublingly reactionary riposte to the likes of Platoon and Apocalypse Now. vTom Dawson)
I General release from Fri 8 Mar.
(18) 112min 0000 If you can get past the fact that Larry Clark is the biggest paedovoyeur working today then there is lots to enjoy in the new movie from the director of Kids. Bully is based on the true story of Bobby Kent who was murdered in Florida in 1993 by a group of teenagers led by his best friend Marty Puccio. Kent. brilliantly played here by Nick Stahl, was a very nasty piece of work. a spoiled kid who used psychological. emotional and often physical violence to turn his childhood friend Marty (Brad Renfro) into his own personal slave.
When Marty begins a relationship with passive-aggressive basket case Lisa (Rachel Miner) he finds a new ally. and acting on her suggestion hatches a plan to murder Bobby. Various bOred white trash rejects get on board. including the hilarious Leo Fitzpatrick (first seen in Kids) as a slacker hitman.
Seedy suburban teenage nihilism
As you w0uld expect from this legendary photographer, Bully looks great and is naturalistically paced and acted. No one catches seedy suburban teenage nihilism better than Clark. This comes on like a post- Columbine take on those troubled teen movies Boys Don ’t Cry and River's Edge. (Paul Dale)
I Selected release from Fri 7 Mar. See preview.
THE SON’S ROOM (LA STANZA DEL FIGLI ) (15) 99min 0... A psychoanalyst in a seaside Italian town. Giovanni (Nanni Moretti). enjoys a comfortable. contented existence. His practice is thriving, his relationship with his wife Paola (Laura Morante) is harmonious and loving. and his two teenage offspring Irene (Jasmine Trinca) and Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelicel are lively and well-adjusted. But one Sunday morning. instead of going out jogging with Andrea. Giovanni decides to visit a distressed patient. On his return he learns that his son has been involved in a fatal diving accident.
A significant creative departure for Italian actOr-writer-director Nanni Moretti. the Palme D'Or-winning The Son '3 Room makes for a fascinating companion piece with the recently released In The Bedroom with its portrayal of how an unexpected death fragments a previously united middle-class family. Moretti depicts the chilling practical details of the funeral arrangements. and then shows how grief is both externalised and internalised by the bereaved. Aided by understated performances and an unobtrusive visual style. this is a film of deceptive simplicity. which engages directly with the spectator's emotions whilst avoiding tearful reconciliations. (Tom Dawson)
I Selected release from Fri 7 Mar. See preview.
Deceptively simple drama
SUPERNATURAL THRILLER TI-IE MOTI-IMAN PROPHECIES
(12) 118min .0
Director Mark Pellington's last film. the underrated conspiracy thriller Arlington Road. centred on a widowed protagonist whose grief for his dead wife drives him into a seemingly paranoid investigation. A similar dynamic provides the motor for his new film. a paranormal chiller.
Its hero. Richard Gere's Washington Post journalist John Klein. also loses his wife in tragic circumstances. Two years later he finds himself inexplicably stranded in the small West Virginia town of Point Pleasant (400 miles from where he is supposed to be). There he discovers that the edgy locals — including Will Patton‘s twitchy chemical plant worker — have been experiencing strange phenomena. including manifestations of a giant, moth-like creature. Eerily. the figure recalls the strange sketches Klein's wife made before her death. As before. the Mothman appears to prefigure disaster.
As he showed in his earlier film. Pellington is very good at creating an atmOSphere of unease. but whereas the suspense in Arlington Road had a bleakly ironic pay-off. The Mothman Prophecies' slow-build up and overwrought climax seem to belong to different movies. Although based on apparently real events. cinematically speaking, Pellington's Mothman just doesn't ring true. (Jason Best) I General release from Fri 7 Mar.
Doesn’t ring true