EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|AMATEUR (director/writer: Hal Hartley; cinematographer: Michael Spiller; editor: Steve Hamilton; music: Jeff Taylor/Ned Rifle; cast: Isabelle Huppert (Isabelle), Martin Donovan (Thomas), Elina Lowensohn (Sofia), Damian Young (Edward), Chuck Montgomery (Jan), David Simonds (Kurt), Pamela Stewart (Officer Patsy Melville), Erica Gimpel (Angry Woman), Jan Leslie Harding (Waitress), Terry Alexander (Frank the cook), David Greenspan (George, the pornographer), Dwight Ewell (Boy Squatter), Parker Posey (Girl Squatter); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Hal Hartley/Ted Hope; Sony Pictures Classics; 1994-USA / France / UK)|
enjoyable quirky-humored hit man flick."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Indie filmmaker Hal
Hartley's ("Trust"/"The Unbelievable Truth"/"Simple
Men") fourth film is an enjoyable quirky-humored hit
man flick, that features his usual idiosyncrasies and deadpan delivery of
weird dialogue along with some stylized action
sequences that are violent--something you don't
expect from this director. It's an acquired taste,
that might not appeal to all.
An unidentified, well-dressed man wakes up bloodied
in the Manhattan gutter with memory loss and Dutch
money in his pocket, and enters a coffee shop. Ex-nun
Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert)
befriends him there and invites him to stay in her
apartment to recuperate. Isabelle is a virgin
but thinks of herself as a nymphomaniac,
explaining this contradiction by saying "I'm choosy."
The lady sits all day in the coffee shop writing
erotic stories for a man (David Greenspan) operating a
porn 'zine willing to pay for something spicy, and
takes that task seriously even when insulted by the
angry waitress for taking up table space from normal
While trying to discover the identity of the
amnesiac, the oddball twosome cross paths with famous
porn star Sofia (Elina Lowensoh), her hubby's
accountant (Damian Young), and two yuppy
Wall-Street-like philosophizing hitmen (Chuck
Montgomery & David Simonds) sent
from Amsterdam by a European arms merchant and
investor in porn films to either kill Thomas (Martin
Donovan)--he's the amnesiac with a criminal
past who is married to porn star Sofia--or the
suddenly crazed accountant or Sofia. It seems that the
trio are blackmailing Mr. Big with an incriminating
floppy disk over government corruption. How it plays
out is bizarre, with some different twists than the
way you would expect your usual crime drama to end.
If there's a serious message about redemption and
exploitation it's well-hidden in all the crazy
talk about sex, floppy disks and one's sordid or too
pure past. Any hope for love in the contemporary
modern world seems to be a dim prospect for these
off-beat characters, who lack the proper social skills
to be anything but amateurs when it comes to romance
or dealing with hitmen.
REVIEWED ON 3/31/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ