Archive for the ‘Briget Fonda’ Category

Rough Magic

07 May

Rough Magic – written and directed by Clare Peploe. Screwball Comedy. 104 minutes. 1997.


The Story: A magician’s assistant flees the claws of a billionaire who wants to marry her.


Have you missed this marvel?

Don’t continue in that error one day more.

Not being a fan of Russell Crowe, I approach the endeavor warily. But this is made at the moment of L.A. Confidential and he is 30 and has ripened up just fine. It’s interesting to observe his acting instrument, the spread of energy natural to him that enables him to consume the screen – indeed to the exclusion of any other star equal to him. Two suns side by side often don’t work. Here he must play the suing lover, which means he is a bottom; he must play in subordination to the woman. It works for him. And it brings up a side of him that I prefer. Gladiator go home.

But let us set that aside for even better things.

First of all this is a movie made by a woman about a woman. Clare Peploe is the writer-director, and the film reflects her values which I like, and which take us into the land of magic both fundamental and false. Screwball comedy is the genre, if you like. And the rendering of it is blunt, various, saucy, always fun.

Playing the leading role is Briget Fonda, and is she good! She fits right into the bold outlines of the character, and you believe right off in her daring, aplomb, wit, and suffering. She is a lovely actor and I wish she were before us more.

The great Jim Broadbent makes up the trio, and he is at his simply-marvelous best. It’s a great big dolloping part – just what we want him to have. He plays an inept sidewalk pharmacist, con man, and raider of ancient civilizations. He is accompanied by a dog.

I love comedy, and this one has the bright notion to shift its locale to Mexico in pursuit of a rare potion which makes those who imbibe into true magicians. Or perhaps it is better to say, it makes them truly what they are.

So we have Cliff Wyatt as the insufferable billionaire of D.W. Moffett. It’s lovely to see in him what good actors we have in ourAmerican pantry. We have our favorite Richard Schiff as his flunky waiting in the wings all this time. We have Kenneth Mars launching his big style into the role of the stage magician and master hand. We have lovely Mexican actors carrying through their parts like champions.

I love this film. I love its color. I love the way it was done, and how. How it was done was what it said. And for me that makes for the most intimate of entertainments. How about you?



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Posted in Briget Fonda, Jim Broadbent, Richard Schiff, Russell Crowe, SCREWBALL COMEDY

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