Archive for the ‘Nick Nolte’ Category

The Company You Keep

19 Apr

The  Company You Keep –– directed by Robert Redford. Manhunt Drama. A member of the Weather Underground lams from the law to find the one who can prove his innocence. 125 minutes Color 2013.


The story is beautifully cast –– and why shouldn’t it be? – with a series of actors playing parts which revisit the terrorist activities of the early 1970s as each one reflects upon the parts the movement played and his part in those parts. Susan Sarandon starts off as the match who ignites the fuse of detonations involving her allies from the old days. Sarandon plays it as an honorable grown-up handing herself over to the law, and peaching on no one, because Weathermen never betrayed one another and she’s not going to start now.

She is interviewed by a local newspaperman, played by Shia Leboeuf, whom she trusts. LeBoeuf is admirably irritating, to his editor played by Stanley Tucci, and to everyone else, which is just right for this role. And his implacable hunger for the rest of the story leads to each of the old-timers. Richard Jenkins brilliantly embodies a man who makes flaccid excuses for his dead ideals by entertaining his students with the exploits they led to. Nick Nolte plays a man who has done well and is still willing to pitch in to help a friend in trouble from the cause. And Robert Redford plays the man on the run.

He is sought on two sides. The FBI in the person of Terrence Howard wants him for the famous bank robbery in which he was supposedly involved and in which a teller was killed. And the reporter himself seeks him for a good story. They pincer him.

The chase leads to Julie Christie, an ideologue from the old days, still fervent. However, the final scene, very much like the final scene in the recently released Sally Potter film Ginger and Rosa, is badly played and shot. Baffling.

It requires the tension of a great debate. All the issues that united them then need to be displayed, and they are, for the film is very well written, but in this scene others make several destructive mistakes.

One is that it appears they also spend the night in sex together – which is irrelevant, or ought to be.

The second is Julie Christie’s hair, which is wrong for the character. We see her hair straight when she is young. Now its curls mask her face. She cannot be seen. Someone should have said No to Julie Christie, except that to do so to her about anything is probably unthinkable. I couldn’t a done it. We’re all still too much in love with her.

The third great harm is that the scene needs to take place out of doors in full daylight, instead of in front of an unconvincing fire in a cabin by a lake where, again, it is too dark to see it.

The fourth and worse harm is that neither actor is allowed to really engage with the other, which is the fault of the director and photographer, who do the scene in a series of reaction shots. The scene collapses.

But the movie is interesting up until this the penultimate point. And Redford is quite good in the film throughout. Notice what he plays. He does not play The Hero or The Important Person Invincible. He plays someone failing at every attempt.

Actually, that’s not playable by an actor, any more than the other two are.

But watch him as he believes he is being let down by Jenkins and Nolte. He does not get mad. No. He is wounded. He is scared. Very good choice. And, while if you sit there calculating how old would have Redford been in the ‘70s, and does it seem likely he would have a nine year-old daughter, it is still one of the better pieces of acting he has done. Our attention to his beauty – the more sad being gone now – has been supplanted by our interest in his well-being as a character, which is just as it should be.

The film engaged me up to the end, which I have spent too much time on descrying and decrying. It has lots of entertainment value, and wonderful performances to behold.


Who’ll Stop The Rain

14 Dec

Who’ll Stop The Rain – directed by Karel Reisz — action adventure drama about a man entering into a drug deal out of loyalty to his best friend – 2 hours 6 minutes, color, 1976.

* * * * *

I wanted to turn this off several times at the start. Drugs. I don’t take drugs and am fed up with the subject in films and won’t see movies about people dealing with them. And the reason is that Drugs steal the drama. They supplant the tensions, difficulties, and cross-purposes between people that make drama happen. But, I saw Kazan’s The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs on Broadway when Tuesday Weld was young. And something simple and straightforward in Nolte’s technique caught my attention. And eventually I saw that this film was not about slick crime but the reverse: about the tragedy of human professional ineptitude. Weld, like many Method actresses, suffers from failed vocal production, which makes her mousy and weak, where she needs to be in agony. Otherwise, she is fascinating. Michael Moriarty, playing her husband, is glassy-eyed and elsewhere, with a flat vocal affect that gives you Out To Lunch. He plays an ex-Marine gone back to Viet Nam as a photographer, and, though a clean cut chap, decides to export a load of smack to be carried by his best friend from the Marines, now a merchant seaman, played by Nick Nolte. They don’t know it, but they are out of their shallows as professional drug runners. And they come up against a series of similar incompetents. The story revolves around the mortal peril incompetence leads to, and the script brilliantly expands on this to give us a world run by inept decisions. Nolte is alone the warrior professional. The difficulty is that his main enemy is a Three Stooges trio whose slightly overplayed comic folly over shadows their ineptitude, resulting in a failure of tone. The motto is: If you can’t get anyone better, make do with what you’ve got, and then watch it kill you.


Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button