Izzy maurer is a jazz saxophonist whose life is permanently changed when he is hit by a stray bullet. After his recovery izzy stumbles across the body of a stranger and winds up with the murdered mans briefcase. In it is a... more » box that contains a mysterious stone and a telephone number belonging to celia. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 02/06/2007 Starring: Harvey Keitel Willem Dafoe Run time: 103 minutes Rating: Pg13 Director: Paul Auster« less
A terrific movie--but could have been a great movie
Warren Criswell | Benton, AR USA | 10/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't want to give away the ending, but this whole movie takes place on the bridge between life and death. I think it may be Auster's best work since the New York Trilogy. It has all the nested levels of reality that those novels had and which sort of got lost in his later books. It also points up an important paradox in Auster's universe of paradoxes: You can accept a world run by chance without being a cynic. This film is all about paradox. There is a blurring or merging of opposites: The magic stone is both a love potion and Pandora's box; Izzy is both a rotten bastard and Sir Galahad; Celia is both a true hearted girl and Lulu; the movie itself is both romantic and existential, etc. In Auster's world--as in the real world--everything contains a little of its opposite, so that in the end no definition holds up. But this chaotic symmetry is spoiled by the final cut. Celia's dark side is shown in the movie within the movie, a remake of G.W. Pabst's 1928 film Pandora's Box (based on Wedekind's play, like Berg's opera), and these scenes of the movie being made, with Celia as Lulu, are a prominent part of Auster's script. They were shot and were still in the film during postproduction interviews given by Auster and even the film editor. But between then and the time the movie was released for rental, all those Lulu scenes got cut out! I can easily see how this would have happened in the old Hollywood studio system. Some bottom-line weasle would have considered these scenes a distraction from the rest of the movie simply whacked 'em out without consulting the director. But in this case Auster and his producer seem to have had complete control over the project, so I can only conclude that Auster himself must have done the cutting, or at least agreed to it. Why, Paul?! If anybody has any info on this, please write to me. This movie is a good as "Smoke"--better in my opinion--but it could have been great without the cuts."
E. Smith | Glen Burnie, md United States | 10/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How do I describe this film? Let's just say it's the end that makes this film (I believe direct to video) most interesting. I have a theory about the life we lead and about each moment of that life. What is real and what isn't? How long a moment last? What may seem a second to the ordinary person, could be a whole lifetime to someone else. Whether it's the first thought in your head or the last thought before you blink out of existence. With that said, you might think that this film explores that. Perhaps, perhaps not. It's what you think that happened. It's what you get out of this picture. This is one of those films that warrants follow on discussions after you see it. Especially for those who may go on to psychological, or better yet, philosophical endeavors. Harvey Keitel plays a man who hasn't had such a pleasant life and he gets shot one day. During his recovery, he has a change of heart. He meets Mira Sorvino. Because he thinks he has met the perfect person things start to change for him and for her. It's gets to be your basic love story. Ah, but there is a twist (or is it really a twist). That is all I am going to say about this film. Rent it, catch it on cable and enjoy this well-made film. It may be slow for some, but I think the pay off (in my opinion only) is worth it."
Beware of God
John Carson Barnes | right here, Anytown, USSA | 10/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was underrated, not seen, in the US; I saw it in Mexico and was astonished by the exquisite, simple little story and esp. the ambiguous character played by Willem deFoe, was he on a side or not? Additionally, the music is a treasure and apparently not available as a soundtrack. (...)"
Aphrodite, metaphysics, and illusion
John Carson Barnes | 10/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is the story about? Jazz saxaphonist, Izzy, is performing with his band and is shot(whether intentionally or accidentally is not clear) by what seems like a crazed man. There is no police follow-up. Obviously this is not important to the theses in the film.
Izzy recovers though he has lost one lung and no longer has the wind power to play the sax, and has lost the use of his right hand fingers, so he cannot key the sax. Am I supposed to think he's a man without an identity? After recovering, Izzy is walking home on a dimly lighted street and comes upon a man with a bullet hole in his forehead, a leather briefcase beside him. Again no mention is ever made of this murder as far as the police are concerned. When Izzy arrives home, he empties the satchel, finds a small box, in it a stone about the size of an egg that glows in the dark. Alongside the dead man there was also a paper napkin with a phone number written on it. Next day he dials the phone number and meets Celia a would be actress waitress.
When the stone glowed, I thought, "Oh, no! Not one of these stories." But I persisted. Izzy did not know Celia or her name, so when she says, "Yes, come on over," I know I'm in a reality different from mine . In the late 20th century a single young girl is going to let an unknown male visit her alone in her aparment. Celia thinks she knows Izzy because he identified himself on the phone and she is listening to a recording of his. Nothing like honesty and trust. Well, Celia holds the glowing stone in the dark of her apartment; and then Izzy does. They are transformed into lovers at first sight. Izzy happens to know the people producing the movie LULU for which Celia is auditioning for a part which she gets because Izzy called his friends. Celia goes to Ireland where the movie is being shot; Izzy will follow in three days__which become a long time.
Stanley Mar, the murdered man, was murdered because he had the stone. Now some toughs find Izzy in his apartment and imprison him in a seemingly abandoned building where he is interrogated in hope of revealing where the stone is. He doesn't reveal it, but the interrogator(daFoe) reveals all the nasty details of Izzy's life. Izzy doesn't reveal anything about the stone because he's protecting Celia who has it in Ireland. Although Izzy hasn't given daFoe a clue, daFoe nevertheless finds Celia in Ireland.
I can't tell you the denouement, but I think it is still in the realm of a reality different from mine. I am not a romantic, so the love story didn't capture me. I'm a materialist(philosophical), so the transformative power of the stone did not capture me. Perhaps the story is about the transformative power of love, but then so is Silas Marner, and no stones, just gold. Where does Aphrodite come in? Well, LULU is a remake of G.W. Pabst's PANDORA'S BOX(1928), which is a very sexy, provocative story, and so Celia is supposed to be in the role of Lulu(Pandora), a femme fatale . And this is why the ending is ambiguous for me__again the reality of the film vs. the reality outside one's mind. This one reqires the "willing suspension of disbelief."
Five stars for the acting, etc."
E. Smith | 08/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everyone acted excellent, but I was a little dissapointed with the ending. I know it's supposed to be abstract and all, but I've seen films which were just as abstract, yet had a more satisfying ending. But I do recommend the film, regardless of the ending. For anyone who has ever been in love with another (and I mean requited and unconditional love), the sincere love scenes will really hit home, and are worth watching. Surprisingly, even though the two fall in love the first day they meet, it is all believable and real, and not contrived at all. Very intense emotions. By the way, if you like Keitel in this one, rent "Holy Smoke"."