Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Yaphet Kotto, Andrew Duggan, Joyce Van Patten, Jeannie Berlin, Casey King
Director: Larry Cohen
Studio: Wea-des Moines Video Release Date: 08/26/2003
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Larry Cohen's Dark Black Comedy
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 07/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1972 comedy-drama marks the directorial debut of popular and prolific B-movie auteur Larry Cohen, who also wrote the screenplay. Though Cohen is known today for penning and directing well-crafted but low-budget indie flicks in the science-fiction, horror, or fantasy genres, BONE is a brilliant and biting Juvenalian satire that astutely dissects the issues of race relations and economic stratification in the United States. Part of the film's intelligence comes from the fact that Cohen's script is not one-sided. Not only does he take lunges at average white folks and their stereotyped views of themselves and those of darker-skinned ethic persuasions, he also uses his dark rapier-like wit to flay the typical black citizen's equally stereotyped attitudes towards upper-class whites. But Cohen doesn't end it there. BONE is a complex, multi-layered story in which one can find many subtle comments and observations above and beyond the primary theme. Addressed are socio-economic issues such as honesty, avarice, marital ennui, contemporary sexual mores, familial trust, the consequences of acting on one's personal fantasies, and lots more, and it definitely requires multiple viewings to peel back the layers and take it all in.Though some socio-political pundits will rightly argue that race relations and the social standing of non-whites have improved since the era in which this film was made, there are still palpable gaps between the social and economic classes in America, and recent notorious racial hate crimes demonstrates that there is certainly a lot of ground yet to cover where racial issues are concerned. This being the case, BONE still seems just as fresh and relevant--and just as satirically witty--as it did in 1972. The principal actors in BONE are phenomenal. In the titular role, actor Yaphet Kotto portrays a black robber and rapist who upends the calm, boring life of an affluent middle-aged white couple. His Oscar-caliber performance is forceful and dynamic, yet the character he creates is still sympathetic and at times downright hilarious. Character actor Andrew Duggan, in what is probably the best performance of his career, creates a dead-on three-dimensional portrait of a smarmy and greedy salesman who one day finds his daily routine abruptly disrupted by Bone. And Joyce Van Patten is delightfully dingy as the bored, cheerless housewife who eventually develops romantic and erotic feelings towards her abductor.Certain aspects of BONE leave the narrative open to interpretation. In the end, one is left to decide if the events depicted really happened, if they were simply a fantasy of the housewife, or if they took place in the imagination of the affluent couple's son (who, we learn, is in a European prison for drug smuggling and is therefore regarded by his parents as an embarrassment and a social liability). This is a brilliant tactic on Cohen's part, as it forces the viewer to mentally review the film's issues and themes--or even to view the film again--and consider everything more deeply in order to formulate a personally sensible interpretation of the open-ended plot.Unfortunately, the complex themes, the sophisticated satire, and the generally controversial nature of the film have proved too deep for the average audience, and BONE has therefore never achieved the notoriety or the distribution that it deserves. Instead, it has basically been relegated to the status of a cult film or an exploitation flick, and only film aficionados who actively seek quality non-mainstream works have been lucky enough to obtain access to a copy of BONE in recent years.Until now, that is. Thanks to the folks at Blue Underground, BONE has been lovingly restored and made available on DVD. In addition to a fantastic picture and great sound, the DVD also features extras such as a humorous and informative commentary by writer/director Cohen and his protégé, Bill Lustig; a short statement from the film's original distributor, Jack Harris; some footage from an earlier aborted shoot of the film, which includes some differences in cast and dialog; and a theatrical trailer in which the film is marketed under an alternate title of THE HOUSEWIFE.Anybody who appreciates good filmmaking and great satire will enjoy BONE, and fans of Larry Cohen will definitely want to snatch up a copy of this disc for their DVD collections. Blue Underground's DVD edition of BONE is well worth the price of admission."
Stephen M. Amy | Portland, OR United States | 11/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You're right- my previous review of this film sucked. But the film itself decidedly does not suck. What we have here is a highly sophisticated satire with the denouement hinted at with stylish jump-cuts fron scenes (as in "Performance" and "Petulia"), which if fully understood as we just catch glimpses of them during the buildup, would explain the whole thing before we'd had the fun of hanging with the three main characters. Cohen's dialogue and characterizations are interesting and funny. A really good satire of wealthy whites and why they are wrong to look down their noses at poor people of color."