US / 97 minutes / bw / Shangri-La, FotoKem, Gato Negro Dir & Scr: Sebastian Gutierrez Pr: Steve Bing, Sebastian Gutierrez, Zach Schwartz Cine: Cale Finot Cast: Malin Akerman, Kevin Connolly, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Robert Forster, Carla Gugino, Mandy Moore, Rufus Sewell, Aaron Behr, John Colella, Andrew Fiscella, Michael B. Jordan, Cameron Richardson, Maureen Chapman, Derek Schreck.
A beautifully modulated nest of stories which prove, in the usual neonoirish fashion, all to be in fact interconnected—all but one, which is the opening scene. Yet, while this movie can be seen as sitting right at the heart of the neonoir canon, at the same time it’s quite atypical of that canon: there’s very little violence and not much chasing around—very little straightforward, easy suspense, in other words—with much of the enjoyment coming instead from a screenplay that’s full of dialogue and that revels in language and its own use of it. At one point two of the characters seem to display awareness of this:
Felix: I’ve never met anyone with said proclivity before.
Hanna: I’ve never met a detective who said “proclivity” before.
We’re introduced to the movie by Eugene Portland (DeVito), whose trade is installing new shower doors. He explains that, while it might seem the kind of job that would have him being propositioned by dozens of bored housewives, in fact it’s happened on just two occasions, one of which he prefers not to talk about. The other was with neglected housewife Evangeline Lundy (Moore), and we see his flashback of his own principled behavior as, clad in her scanties, she alternately threw herself at him and wept on his shoulder. It’s an entertaining sequence but seems to have little to do with the movie proper.
Eugene (Danny DeVito) remains staunchly high-principled despite the obvious inclinations of housewife Evangeline (Mandy Moore).
Eugene is now in a room in a nameless and seemingly scarcely occupied hotel. The trigger to the nest of stories is when, as Eugene stumblingly types in his hotel room, a caller arrives dressed in the costume of a masked superhero; dyslexic, she’s come to the wrong room. Before leaving she introduces herself as Sevilla (Dawson), who, as we shortly discover, is Continue reading