A stunning first film (The Hollywood Reporter) by the independent writing/directing team of David Siegel and Scott McGehee (Lush), Suture takes a non-traditional approach to casting, placing an African-American actor in t... more »he role of an identical brother to a white man. Equally evocative is the choice to shoot in Black and White, adding further contrast to the striking noir style and dark undertones of this exceedingly smart (Variety) psychological thriller. You can barely tell Vincent and Clay apart. So, when these two estranged half-brothers meet for the first time,Vincentthe prime suspect in their father's murderdecides to kill Clay so he can swap identities and pin the crime on his new-found sibling. But Clay miraculously survives the attempt on his life. And now, suffering from amnesia and thinking he's Vincent, Clay must prove that he's not the killer before he's sentenced to life for the crime he believes he didn't commit!« less
Thrilling, intelligent, symbollic and I just can't forget it
olga | Germany | 01/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen this movie eight years ago and still think about it. This movie +simply is very, very intelligent and true. And in the same time it is very simple. It's about the racial madness of the american society. I can't think of better words to discribe the essence of this picture than those of James Baldwin, the negro american poet.
'You don't see me, I'm your black cat. You don't love me, I see that.'
'Okay. I'm your ... baby, 'till I get bigger!'
We, the viewer, see what happens every day in the american society (and of course in any other racist society): the black man is not seen, he simply is not there. And his white brother trys to kill him.
The story: The black man comes to get to know his white brother, but he, grimly with hate, seeks to kill him.
In the end, grinning and happy, the black man will tell the viewer why he accepts to play on the game and take the place of his dead white brother. And again, he could be saying the words of James Baldwin: 'And then, false lover, you will know, what love has managed here below.'
For me one of the best pictures I've ever seen. Inriching (if this word exists in english- sorry, I'm german.)"
WHAT'S UP, DOC ?
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 03/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Written, produced and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, SUTURE is undoubtedly one of the most interesting movies I have seen so far this year. Shot in black and white in 1993, this unusual thriller deserves to be rediscovered in the DVD standard since it didn't find its audience when it was theatrically released. The nervous tension felt by the viewer while watching a movie is generally produced by two simple narrative methods. For instance, the director can decide that the audience will always be kept literally behind the main character, never knowing what will appear next on the screen. In this case, we are manipulated by the director who can easily shock us with unexpected scenes. This method is principally used by horror movies directors. Another way for a director to create tension among the audience is, on the contrary, to give us informations the characters of the movie are unaware of. Just think of all the scenes you have already seen involving a young woman coming home alone while you are aware that there is a serial killer hidden in her apartment.Scott McGehee and David Siegel have invented, in my opinion, a third narrative method that is going to greatly disturb you. In SUTURE, the characters of the movie DON'T see what you see. For us, the audience, Clay Arlington is a colored guy from the suburbs of Needle, Arizona played by Dennis Haysbert - a colored actor - but for the characters of SUTURE, Clay Arlington is a white guy having a tremendous resemblance with Vincent Towers played by the caucasian Michaël Harris. Are you still with me ?So you spend half the movie wondering why you are the only one noticing that Vincent Towers and Clay Arlington don't have the slightest resemblance. It's very disturbing and, I must admit, a genial idea. SUTURE is also a movie you can speak about during hours with friends because it's smart, filled with references and artistically perfect. This MGM DVD presents, apart of the widescreen version of SUTURE, a theatrical trailer and french subtitles. The minimum. A DVD zone discovery."
Matthew Parks | DURHAM, NC USA | 01/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suture is an experimental film masquerading as a vintage 50's film noir crime drama. Basically, the plot hinges on two brothers (one played by a white actor, one by a black actor), one of whom tries to kill the other, in order assume the other brother's identity to conceal his criminal past. His brother survives, but has amnesia, and must piece together his life before it is too late. The movie does a masterful job of telling the story from a series of shifting and fractured points of view. This, combined with the fact that the brothers, who are played by actors of different races, are frequently confused with on another, results in a uniquely surreal reimagining of the conventional crime noir."
People see what they want to see
banditdoc | Newburgh NY USA | 05/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think that's a main point of the movie. The "sophisticated" white society people are ready to embrace the persona of Vincent even though he is obviously black to the viewer of the film, as white, because they believe him to be a white man. The storyline becomes more surreal and incredulous as the plastic surgeon's efforts to recreate his disfigured face result in him not looking like the picture of the white person they had as a reference, but exactly the same as the black actor looked before all the surgery. The clincher for me was hearing the plastic surgeon talk about his nose as being narrow and sophisticated, even though his nose was (to the viewer) obviously a broader nose more typical for a black man - I took this to mean that the plastic surgeon was recreating him to conform not only to the picture but to the image they had of the wealthy socialite, but that only the viewing audience is able to see his true identity, the thing most feared by the white society people - a black "boogey man" (or any man from the "wrong side of the tracks") who unbeknownst to these people is courting and ends up marrying one of their "precious" white daughters . . . very reminiscent of politically charged racial/cultural tension movies of the 1950's and 1960's like "Rebel Without A Cause" or "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" and having strong references to "Romeo and Juliet" - see "West Side Story" !I think this theme is underscored by it having been shot in black-and-white - plus the many juxtapositions: the black and white ink blots another reviewer mentioned; on the street as the main character drives by, two identical minivans side by side, one black, one white; in the climax scene, the black actor's character is hiding behind a white shower curtain. You have to see this movie at least twice as you will be confused too long before you begin appreciating its artistry and oblique references the first time.In a way, this movie tests the viewer as well - it says "just accept the fact that this is a black actor playing a supposedly white character", requiring the viewer to appreciate only the actor's skill, not his skin color, as one should in all questions involving race - look at the person, not the skin color. So if you are disturbed by this movie, you may have to assess your own personal beliefs. The race-bending issue reminds me of the gender-bending actor's issues in "Shakespeare In Love" which portrays a subject that was equally taboo to many people in those days, and would have been equally disturbing to audiences of the period."
Suture: remembering someone eslse's past
John Galvin | Cincinnati,OH | 04/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""How is it that we know who we are?" These are the opening words of the film Suture, delivered in voice-over by Dr Shimoda. He starts at a violent twist near the conclusion-which gives an unexpected answer to his question--but then decides that it would be better to start a little nearer to the beginning. So we fade to Clay Arlington stepping off a bus to be greeted by his estranged half-brother Vincent Towers. Vincent and Clay, it would seem, are almost physically indistinguishable--a fact which had inspired Vincent to invite Clay to pay him a visit. It seems they saw one another for the first time at the funeral of their father whom Vincent is suspected of having murdered. And Vincent now plans to kill Clay whom he hopes will be mistaken for himself. Clay miraculously survives though both mind and body are shattered. Plastic surgeon Renee Descartes will reconstruct his face; psychotherapist Shimoda will reconstruct his identity. Unfortunately, they, like everyone else, believe him to be Vincent and so, little by little, fit him into the mind and body of his brother. Pictures, videos and reminiscences with a relative supply Clay with pieces of a puzzle that are shaped like his own but which, once in place, paint a very different picture.
Clay was working-class; Vincent, a rich dilettante. Clay was warm, earnest and unassuming; Vincent, cold, deceitful and calculating. They were really very different people, as different as night and day. In fact, the differences in their characters are so pronounced they actually manifest themselves physically. The actor playing Clay is tall, beefy and black while the actor playing Vincent-his near twin-is short, thin and white. Elements of the dialog are then very much at odds with the visuals that receive, in turn, even greater thematic focus through the brilliantly articulated contrasts of the black and white cinematography. In the end, you are presented with some rather interesting, if perplexing, questions about the puzzle of identity: what does it mean to remember someone else's past? to graft bits and pieces of one life onto the withered remains of another? to eventually mistake oneself for the self of another? Who exactly have you become? Who should you want to become? Clay's answer is an uncomfortable surprise and Dr Shimoda can only wonder, finally, "How is it that we know who we are?""