Cassavetes fans take note
Allan MacInnis | Vancouver | 10/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The last words to appear as the credits roll up on this film are "Dedicated to John Cassavetes." It's no surprise. Made while Cassavetes was still alive, this movie is as fine a tribute to Cassavetes' movies and methods as was ever made, and I'm counting the films by Elaine May and his son Nick. Rob Nilsson and the cast workshopped the script together, a very intimate and powerful look at the emotional lives of a group of taxi drivers (SIGNAL 7 is a distress call, cabbie in trouble). Two of them, Marty and Speed, dream of going to Hollywood and trying to make it as actors. Both are beyond it, however. Marty, though talented as an actor, is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he'll probably die an utter failure, knowing he just doesn't have it to succeed, crushed as he is by his compassion for those around him; Speed, less talented, less realistic, and far more desperate, is determined to pretend that he has a chance. Both men are in their 50's, however, and barely scraping by. Performance as a way of escape, healing and survival is a theme Cassavetes cared a lot about, and it's sensitively and intelligently handled here. As in Cassavetes' films, the emotional content is pretty intense, and one really ends up feeling like one has encountered real human beings by the end of the film, and known them more deeply than most people one meets in life. As much as I like the film, I have to acknowledge, though, that it isn't particularly visually impressive or inventive. It's simply a really good effort to make a Cassavetes film on the part of people who obviously care a great deal about the role of the actor and the communicative possibilities of filmmaking. Recommended viewing."