Volume 75, Number 18 | September 21 - 27, 2005

Koch On Film

By Ed Koch

“Keane” (+)
This short story is given a superb rendering by the performance of Damian Lewis as William Keane. We meet Keane wandering around the Port Authority Bus Terminal asking people if they have seen his seven-year-old daughter whom, he says, he left alone for a few minutes to use the restroom. Before long we learn that Keane is not only emotionally overcome by that loss but that he is an alcoholic and undoubtedly mentally ill.

Keane is living in a flophouse room that costs $20 a day. (When I was mayor, a room in a Bowery flophouse, probably not as clean, cost about $5 a day.) At that hotel, he meets Lynn (Amy Ryan) who also has a seven-year-old daughter, Kira (Abigail Breslin). The relationship between Lynn and Keane seems to be moving toward an intimate one. From that point on, the suspense mounts. The daughter is phenomenal in her reactions to what takes place around her including her initial fear of Keane. The storyline and fear of pedophilia taking place raised my anxiety level enormously.

Obviously, I can’t tell you what happens except to say that not everything is resolved. The movie, which is currently playing in Manhattan at the Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street, is well worth seeing. 

“Margaret Cho: The Assassin Tour” (-)
Margaret Cho is one of the best comedians, male or female, in America. She writes her own material, which is very raunchy, and she delivers it extremely well. Unfortunately everyone has an off night, and I found “The Assassin Tour,” which is a tape of one of her theater performances, disappointing.

I laughed at some of the lines, but more often than not I simply smiled, and at times her references were so “in” that I didn’t get them at all. I regret having to give this film a negative review, and I intend to see her next movie performance, hoping that she will have regained her brilliance.

“Four Brothers” (-)
I considered avoiding this film because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. But since there are few good movies opening, and because John Singleton is a superb director, and I enjoy seeing Mark Wahlberg on screen—he did a terrific job in “Traveler” and “Boogie Nights”—I went. Big mistake.

The plot is simple. Four brothers reunite in Detroit to attend the funeral of their adopted, and now murdered, mother. Evelyn Mercer (Fionnula Flanagan) was a foster mother who adopted these four boys as youngsters because they were difficult to place in foster homes. Bobby (Mark Wahlberg) and Jack (Garrett Hedlund) are white, and Angel (Tyrese Gibson) and Jeremiah (Andre Benjamin) are black. After the funeral the brothers agree, one reluctantly, to find their mother’s murderer and execute justice. Although the gunfights, car chases, and man-to-man combat that follow rival Sam Peckinpah at his most violent, the movie drags because of its lack of nuance.

The movie was mostly filmed in Ontario, but part of it was shot in Detroit. In the snow both cities look alike. The film undoubtedly provided employment for some people in the suffering city of Detroit. That was perhaps the only valid reason for making the film.

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