Friday, October 06, 2006

Edmond


I've never been a big fan of David Mamet. Not that I didn't, at one time, find a number of his works compelling.

My trouble with Mamet began with Oleanna, which sits comfortably on my list of ten worst movies ever made. It's a great idea. An ambiguous event takes place that may or may not have been sexual harrassment and we're forced to explore our prejudices as the characters explore what happened.

For a long time, I wasn't able to watch anything he wrote without hearing that same forced, pedantic dialogue, seeing the same trick where instead of fully developing characters, they merely turn out to be assholes. It's a shallow and obvious illusion of depth.

I am, however, a huge fan of Stuart Gordon, who, in fact, directed to first performances of Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago, so I was pretty excited about Edmond.

I may have been a little over-the-top in my excitement, as it turns out, but not by too much. It's a twisted and brilliantly acted little black comedy. Gordon holds the perfect tone, keeping the story moving briskly and the look is very much the city at night. I've read complaints from some about a shift in tone, but I certainly didn't sense one.

Honestly, though, I must say that the problems with Mamet remain. The actors portray the characters well, but they're oddly impenetrable, and I can't help feeling like the story itself is cynical for the sake of cynicism rather than actually driving at some meaning for us.

In the end, it's a fun ride. The pictures are pretty - and ugly - the acting is fantastic and the story is intriguing. I definitely recommend it.


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