Monday, September 18, 2006


A poetry double feature: I [Heart] Huckabees and The Man On The Train. I didn't plan it this way; that's just how it worked out.

First, Huckabees. This was something like a Charlie Kaufman script, particularly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Like that movie and Adaptation, etc., it's set in its own self-contained universe with its own rules and laws. It is similar to our world, but just different enough that the normal rules of logic don't quite apply. I liked the light touch in this movie. Both ESotSM and Adaptation got a little too top heavy with their forward momentum over the last 20 minutes or so. This was more free-flowing and unresolved, like Being John Malkovich. The cast was pretty jaw-dropping, but what does it say when the best performance in the movie comes from Marky Mark?

The Man On The Train also starred a former "musician" turned "actor," the semi-legendary Johnny Hallyday, who was, in his day, if not the French Elvis, perhaps at least the French Ricky Nelson. Here he plays a knockabout gangster who enjoys the hospitality of a lonely retired French poetry teacher. They seem to have little in common, but each recognizes in the other a path not taken. This has been done before, although rarely quite as well. It reminded me a bit of The American Friend, which I didn't much care for. (In particular, the houses where most of the action was set looked really similar.) As in that movie, the mechanics of the robbery that is the stated reason for the plot don't matter much. It's more of a character study. I'm not saying it was Touch of Evil, but it wasn't a bad 90 minute bout of subtitle reading. I also really liked the blue tint in all the outdoor shots.

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