Weekly Wire
NewCityNet New Reviews This Week

"The Delta" and "Sliding Doors."

By Ray Pride

APRIL 27, 1998: 

The Delta

Ira Sachs' modestly budgeted debut feature is a story of an ill-fated romance between a well-off white teenager and the immigrant son of a Vietnamese woman and a black G.I. While the story grates, there is a compelling mood to Sachs' lively, smudgy 16mm vision of Memphis and its night world of dark streets, bars, dirty clubs and bought sex. 85m. (Ray Pride)

Sliding Doors

While Gwyneth Paltrow calls "Sliding Doors" "our little movie," Peter Howitt's small-budget romantic comedy is in fact a co-production of Miramax and Paramount. Some, even its star, felt the film's presence at Sundance stretched the definition of independent filmmaking. With several movies present, Paltrow said she felt like a prominent presence, "not in a cool way like Lili Taylor, but in a tacky Hollywood way."

Howitt's script, an eager amalgam of Woody Allen-style banter and the parallel-lives contrivance of "Double Life of Veronique," gives Paltrow the opportunity to twinkle madly as an English PR executive whose life changes-and doesn't-one day when she catches-and doesn't catch-a subway train. On one track, the story follows what would happen if she remained attached to her unfaithful, blocked-novelist, live-in boyfriend (a frantic John Lynch). On the other, what would happen if on that train, she met a charming, tender (if manic) Scotsman (an equally twinkly John Hannah)?

Howitt began his career as an actor, best-known, he jokes, for playing "Cell Mate Number Four" in "In the Name of the Father." The burly, pony-tailed director laughs when asked what movies might have inspired him. "All of them! I've probably ripped them all off." He confesses a fondness for time-and-identity switch movies, among them "Tootsie," "Heaven Can Wait" and "Groundhog Day." Of his script's many cockeyed complications, he says, "Those are all aspects of my dim and distant past, unfortunately."

While "Sliding Doors" may be too sweet and eager-to-please for some tastes, it does boast one hilarious, classic character. Howitt returns several times to Lynch confessing the latest foul-up in the two-guys-and-a-girl triangle to a friend in a pub, played by Douglas McFerran, Howitt's business partner. "That's what he's like in real life," Howitt says. "Doug says he's like the jester in Shakespeare or a chorus in an opera; it's light relief based on the dilemmas we see. He's just laughing and laughing at the strange adversity. He's my mate, and I'll say to him things that are troubling me and he says, 'Pete! You sound totally ridiculous!' It's just good for someone to find everything absurdly funny."

Weekly Wire Suggested Links

Page Back Last Issue Current Issue Next Issue Page Forward

Film & TV: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Cover . News . Film . Music . Arts . Books . Comics

Weekly Wire    © 1995-99 DesertNet, LLC . Newcity Chicago . Info Booth . Powered by Dispatch