Monday, July 23, 2012

THIS WORLD, THEN THE FIREWORKS (1997) -
Michael Oblowitz


Curses! A decent Jim Thompson adaptation foiled by Billy Zane!

Actually, Zane has some help in the ruination. There's the difficult brother-sister incest themes, an obviously limited budget for a '50s period piece (some of the most tightly composed street shooting I've ever seen, surely to hide BMWs and cell phone stores just out of frame). Plus, there's too much voiceover, even for film noir. Zane's clipped, monotone approach to every line reading doesn't really help. It's bad enough I have to see him, but do I have to hear him every other second, too?

The direction by Michael Oblowtiz is a little heavy on style but not off-point considering the lurid material. And Gershon is fine as one half of a set of twin grifters, though not given much interesting to do. This is probably the weakest of the Jim Thompson novel adaptations that I've seen, but when you're in league with The Grifters, The Getaway and Serie Noire that's not necessarily a swipe. One can't always expect fireworks every time out. One can only expect Zane. Zane and more Zane.

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