Simpatico

Bomb Rating: 

There are enough flashbacks in this film to give Dennis Hopper a headache.

I've said this before in varying forms, but I'll say it again and try to make myself a little more clear: you who would endeavor to convert plays into films would be better off trying to force-feed a large rattlesnake by tying the tail of a small mouse around your penis.

I'm sure that high society's finest had a whale of a time sitting through this Sam Shepard play and I'm sure that director Matthew Warchus thought about what a fine film a story about the ruined lives of some horse-racing scammers would make and I'm sure Sharon Stone, Jeff Bridges and Nick Nolte just jumped at the chance to act with each other. I'm also sure that when test audiences started falling over as though somebody had pumped Sarin through the air conditioning system, half-mad studio executives immediately began thinking about creative ways to blame the gaffer for the fiasco.

There are enough flashbacks in this film to give Dennis Hopper a headache. Basically, you have these three people: Vinnie (Nick Nolte), Carter (Jeff Bridges), and Rosie (Sharon Stone), whose lives have been altered for better and worse by some scam they pulled off twenty years ago. Why, suddenly, their problems all come to a head at this particular moment is anybody's guess, but suddenly everybody is having a crisis, not the least of which is Matt Warchus, who directs the movie like a guy who's reading from a book whose pages are out of order.

There's a young Vinnie (Shawn Hatosy) and a young Carter (Liam Waite) and a young Rosie (Kimberly Williams) and a long time ago they pulled a scam on an old Albert Finney who looks exactly the same whether he's in a flashback or not, which is at least a good thing since given how much the young actors resemble the old, Warchus might have given Orangutans a whirl. In what, to me, seemed like several days later, the film finally ended revealing nothing more than the simple fact that guilt can really drive you nuts, which was something evident in the film's first few minutes -- drama's mystery equivalent of revealing the killer in the first seconds and dragging the audience around for two hours to show how the detective fixed his pocket watch.

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