EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|LIGHTSHIP, THE (director: Jerzy Skolimowski; screenwriters: from the book "The Lightship" by Siegfried Lenz/David Taylor/William Mai; cinematographer: Charly Steinberger; editors: Scott Hancock/Barrie Vince; music: Stanley Myers; cast: Robert Duvall (Calvin Caspary), Klaus Maria Brandauer (Captain Miller), Tom Bower (Coop), Robert Costanzo (Stump), Badja Djola, William Forsythe (Gene), Arliss Howard (Eddie), Michael Lyndon (Alex), Tim Phillips (Thorne), Badja Djola (Nate); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Moritz Borman/Bill Benenson; Paramount; 1985)|
for the inventive performance of Robert Duvall."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It's based on Siegfried Lenz's sullen allegorical novella
and is literately written by David Taylor and William Mai. Director
("Moonlighting"/"Deep End"/"The Shout") can't get it to move as
anything more than a B-film psychological thriller, as it gets moored
in philosophical musings over freedom, the battle over good and evil,
and the darkness surrounding humanity. Though Skolimowski tries through
a claustrophobic setting, the suspense and the metaphysical
undercurrent don't seamlessly blend together even if it's well-crafted
and well-acted. It's noted for the inventive performance of Robert
Duvall, almost unrecognizable as a flamboyant effete dandy, dressed in
a bow tie, a cream-colored suit
and a Panama hat, who is well-mannered and articulate but is also a
slimy vicious thug.
Captain Miller (Klaus Maria
Brandauer) is the pacifist
of a rusting US Coast Guard lightship, anchored off the coast of
Norfolk, Virginia, in Cape Hatteras, a few years after WW II.
captain is haunted by the memory of leaving some fellow Americans
die at sea in World War II while he instead goes after a German U-boat.
His rebellious 16-year-old son Alex (Michael Lyndon, Skolimowski's
real-life son), who despises dad, is picked up by the police and
delivered to his pop, who takes him aboard the stationary vessel that
serves as an offshore lighthouse (something no longer used, as it once
was the practice to anchor such vessels in uncertain waters to warn
other ships away from the danger points).
A motorboat fails at sea and the
three on-the-run psychotic killer passengers, Calvin
Caspary (Robert Duvall), Eddie Waxler (Arliss
Howar) and, his moronic brother, Eugene Waxler (William Forsythe), come aboard to await repairs and then
overtake the six men on the Coast Guard ship and hold them hostage as
they hijack the boat and make new plans to meet their rendezvous escape
boat. The captain opts to make sure his men are safe and complies with
the thugs up to a point and it turns into a duel of wits between the
two leaders, while Thorne (Tim
Phillips) rallies the other
vics to fight back. It results in a few deaths and many life lessons
is told from the POV of the Michael
Lyndon character, who acts as
REVIEWED ON 4/10/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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