Off-beat film that has so many layers
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chances are you have missed this devilish delightful gem and that is a shame. With Tommy Lee Jones being one of the best actors around, I was sorry this film is totally ignored. I think the few that saw it was not entirely sure what to make of it. For those who have found it, they generally adore this quirky, sexy thriller, a who dun it, who stole the jewels, and if half the cast are alive or not!
Tommy Lee Jones gives a great performance (when does he not) as Eddie Mallard. Eddie is a down-on-his-lucky, so-so gumshoe in the Sam Spade tradition. When a friend wants to be a client with the tale he wants Eddie to persuade his ex-wife Rachel Carlyle (sexy Virginia Madsen) to leave him alone, Eddie says yes. All in a days business. Well, problems soon become apparent that is "ex" wife was not an "ex" because his friend divorced her, but rather he killed her and then stole all her jewelry. When this fact comes to light, Eddie's client insists he still wants Eddie to convince Rachel to go away. Befuddled by his friends insistence he wants the dead woman to leave him alone, Eddie thinks, what the heck, easy money, eh? However, Rachel soon turns up and she hardly looks like a ghost. She is a very sexy bombshell. Soon Eddie is drawn into Rachel's web and into an affair.
It's done with a ton of symbolism that requires the viewer to watch this one a dozen times to catch all the little nuances. The moody atmospheric lensing adds to the teasing, tantalizing feel, with two strong performances by two very amazing actors. I have always adored Virginia Madsen. She is the epitome blonde bombshell, yet intelligence radiated, snapping from her eyes challenging you to dare call her a dumb blonde.
In one very poignant scene, Madsen and Jones stop before a street singer and asks him to sing a song. And he says there is only one song. He signs the most beautiful version of Danny Boy. I defy anyone not have a tear in their eye after the haunting melody. The singer ends the song in tears himself, wipes them and says "Mercy." saying it just does not get any better than this.
That sums up this whole beautiful, quirky film. Mercy!
What REALLY happens inside a man when he "falls in love"?
Mr Creosote | Reno, NV United States | 11/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What REALLY happens inside a man when he "falls in love"? If you want to begin to get a clue, or - better yet - if you are tearfully trying to grasp what on earth has happened to you in particular, you should see "Gotham" - again and again. It is an American classic of the Inner Landscape.I wonder how much idea Tommy Lee Jones and company had of just what they were enacting. Only as much as writer/producer/director, Lloyd Fonvielle, was able or willing to tell them. Siskel & Ebert, etc., totally missed the point. Why? Because people in our culture are not prepared for a movie whose plot/premise barely holds together as a tale of what occurs in the world but which, as an inner story, dream- or myth-like, works quite beautifully. (In that sense the movie's plot is rather like our lives!)Your enjoyment/comprehension of this movie will be much enhanced if you have at least some familiarity with the Jungian Anima (I mean conceptually - we men all do experientally, although depressingly few know much about, or acknowledge, Her!). If you don't, I don't want to put you off. It will do quite nicely if a woman's image has - in whatever way - just devastated you, or some man you know, inside. I've never seen a movie where this is so graphically depicted. The decline and Fall. "How will I find you?" Eddie quaveringly asks. "Don't worry," she replies, with a smile that is simultaneously sweet and diabolical, "I'll find YOU." Oh, yes.This movie is incredibly rich in symbols and insight, and really repays multiple viewings. Even if you don't understand why Eddie's name is Mallard; why Rachel's face has suddenly become chalky white as she turns and emits her spine-chilling anger when challenged by Eddie on a matter of historical accuracy; the Doorman; why it is death to "sleep with a ghost"; what the pirate's sword is all about (re-read your Tristan & Isolde, the chapel); why She MUST emerge from the mist, at the brazier, to warn Eddie not to embark on his own destruction, before herself taking the executive role in bringing it about ("I've KILLED you, Eddie...and I'm GLAD I did!"); the role of the psychic detective (that's you - or could be); the splitting of the male psyche into Charlie and Eddie, as separate disastrous approaches to Her; the jewels (and this IS pretty murky!); the themes of watery immersion, pugilism, paganism vs Christianity, etc., EVEN THEN...something will tug at you as watch this movie.As you can probably tell, I'd love to bend your ears with a full-scale analysis, but the 1000 word limit protects you from people like me! Feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk about Gotham, I never found anyone on my wavelength."
P. Rogers | Western USA | 01/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful little movie that, I think, was made originally for cable. I saw it when it came out and it has always been a favorite. What I love most about the film is the haunting tone, which is reflected in the noir storyline, visuals, and music. I especially liked the music -- the noted version of Danny Boy is the best rendition I've ever heard, and the torch music is great and fits the cosmopolitan "feel" of the movie. Since it was a little seen film, you won't get a lot of reviews. Don't let the fact that it was not widely seen scare you off -- it is a keeper. Tommy Lee Jones gives a great performance and Virginia Madsen has never been more beautiful."
A noir gem
The Hegemom | Midwest, USA | 10/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seems like no one has ever heard of this movie, and that is a shame. It is chilling, stylish and funny, all in the same moment. Really a fun movie!"