SCREENED AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL, WORLD PREMIERE
yet another ensemble film, this time directed by mark rydell (cowboys, james dean story) and produced by bob yari (crash). this film made me realize how much of a collaboration filmmaking really is. every person in the chain has to share the burden of telling the story to the audience. if the score doesn’t fit then the burden falls more on the acting or the direction or the cinematography. great films have a capable and inspired crew which shares the burden equally. this film did not do that.
the direction was definitely the worst element of the film. while the broad story had potential and the cinematography was decent (lots of interiors and dark locations gave a claustrophobic feel), the direction just didn’t hold up its end of the bargain. some minor examples include all the basketball sequences which were clearly shot by someone who has no understanding or love of the game. or how about the blackjack sequence wherein basinger gets a bout of bad luck – she busts with 22 hand after hand after hand; it’s just not realistic and it was done in, frankly, a cheesy way. the entire premise of the final scene relied on us believing that a major gangster was interested in a high school basketball game. i’m sure there are some high school games with some decent action, but it just didn’t make sense in this instance. the most disturbing choice was the use of voice-over at the beginning and end of the film. here, rydell spells out exactly what he wants you to get from the film and then summarizes things for you nicely at the end. sometimes a film can get away with this, other times it cannot.Watched in theater Watched on TV