Saturday, July 31, 2004

conflict of faith and duty

David Mamet's Homicide packs in the standard Mamet trademarks: razor-sharp dialogue, and his wife Rebecca Pidgeon. The good news is Ms Pigeon (a) has a very limited screen presence, and (b) is not given a chance to exercise her acting skills[sic]. The better news is that the cast, overall, is splendid with the material. There are the familiar Mamet favourites: Joe Mantegna, William H Macy, Ricky Jay. The only problem I had was I over-reacted to the Mamet mystique and thought everything was one big con game. However, it was an interesting character study of a Jewish cop, who has to deal with internal conflicts and alienation from his faith, his duty and his desire to be accepted. Roger Ebert's laudatory review begins by describing what was also my favourite scene in the film. And he closes by noting that Mamet uses the elements of traditional genres - the con game, the mistaken identity, the personal crisis, the cop picture - as a framework for movies that ask questions like: Who's real? Who can you trust? What do people really want?. An interesting POV that should provide fodder for discussions of films that have defied genre classification, albeit in a very subtle understated fashion (not as overtly as Tarantino recent "Bill"-ious pastiche/homage, for example).

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