I have a weakness for movies described as pretentious, at least when they appeal to my imagination, but this terminally pretentious first feature by writer-director Alan Wade seems too far removed from reality to carry any sort of allure. I haven’t read the short story it’s adapted from, Branimir Scepanovic’s La mort de Monsieur Golouga, but the French title and eastern European author’s name suggest an attempt on Wade’s part to adapt European material to an American context, which is where I suspect some of the problems begin. The title hero (Christian Slater), a bookkeeper on holiday, wanders into a remote small town that isn’t accustomed to visitors and arouses everyone’s suspicions; when questioned he blurts out that he’s been contemplating suicide, and he’s regarded thereafter as a mythic, messiahlike figure. If this screenwriter’s notion of a townits inhabitants, its buildings, its faded signs (Supersweet Feeds says one of them)bore any resemblance to any real town on earth, the symbolic hardware might be a little more palatable. With Robin Tunney, Michael Parks, Harve Presnell, and LaTanya Richardson. (JR)
In the Company of Men
Don’t tell anyone, but this blistering piece of provocation by independent writer-director Neil LaBute, his first feature, has a lot to do with capitalism and how it alters our notions of masculinity and romance; in short, it’s about how business affects the way we live and think and feel. Two 30ish male execs (Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy) sent to their company’s branch office for six weeks decide to date, flatter, and then humiliate a woman they pick at random. (They settle on a deaf typist, deftly played by Stacy Edwards.) It doesn’t sound like a believable story without the context provided by LaBute’s concentrated minimalist style and the strong performances, but every nuance here counts, and most of them add up to something pretty potent as well as scary. Check this one out. Evanston, Pipers Alley. –Jonathan Rosenbaum
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.
You can keep your dinosaur romps and your cartoon fairy tales; this is the kind of kids