Release Date: July 14th, 2006 (Quad Cinema) by First Independent Pictures.
The Cast: William H. Macy, Jeffrey Combs, Bai Ling, Joe Mantegna, Denise Richards, Mena Suvari, Rebecca Pidgeon, Lionel Mark Smith, Jack Wallace, George Wendt, Bokeem Woodbine, Julia Stiles, Dulé Hill.
Directed by Stuart Gordon.
BASIC PREMISE: Edmond, a businessman, (Macy) leaves his wife (Pidgeon) to wander through the dangerous streets of New York City. Based on the play by David Mamet.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: As usual, William H. Macy gives a strong performance, but the problem here is in the weak screenplay which fails to make his character, Edmond, remotely believable. Edmond essentially begins in the second act when he starts to break down gradually—or to “fall down” like the Michael Douglas character did in Falling Down. He goes to a strip club where he briefly meets a greedy stripper (Richards). Next there’s a trip to a peep show and then a greedy prostitute (Suvari)—he tries to give him his credit card, after being robbed and beaten by a pimp. Soon enough, he manages to woo a waitress (Stiles) who sleeps with him. What happens at that point is by all means shocking and disturbing, but too unrealistic and contrived. All of Edmond’s angry outbursts and bad luck occur too quickly—and this is all in one night. This tragedy has Shakespeare’s Macbeth written all over it, but without a complex character who knows what he wants, i.e. sanity, or at least has some remaining hope within him, it all falls flat, dull, and aimless. It would have been effective to include a first act with Edmond and his wife in a tranquil state of mind at first, rather than jump right into his madness. Perhaps he could have seen a therapist, but that would have made it too similar to Panic, a much superior film which also starred William H. Macy in a more natural script than this one.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Edmond glosses over many different issues such as racism, prejudice and existentialism, but fails to delve into any of them with profound insight. After all, Edmond hasn’t slept all night, so everything controversial that he says may because of his insomnia, among other problems. How can anyone take a lunatic so seriously with no reference to how he acted when he was relatively sane?
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Too contrived and dull.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
IN A NUTSHELL: Macy gives a terrific performance, but the weak script feels dull, contrived and aimless.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "E" Menu