The lives of three deeply unhappy New Yorkers crisscross in unexpected ways in writer-director Joe Maggio's uneven but strangely affecting film, which strongly recalls the late-night odysseys AFTER HOURS and INTO THE NIGHT (both 1985). Hotshot stockbroker Rick (Clint Jordan) has a full-blown emotional meltdown at the cocktail party he and his wife, Joyce (Kirstin Russell) have thrown at their elegant loft apartment in hopes of assuring Rick's coworkers that he's on the road to recovery from a recent nervous breakdown. The capper is Rick's rambling re-proposal to Joyce, whose startled rejection prompts a blistering tirade about the many ways in which she has humiliated and undermined Rick over the course of their 10-year marriage. Rick decamps to his girlfriend Katie's (Eleanor Hutchins) apartment and comes further unhinged when he spots a strip of photo-booth shots of Joyce and her late boyfriend, Patrick Cash, stuck on the wall. Rick found that very strip of photos the day Katie discovered the apartment; rattled by the realization that it was Patrick who recently died there in pitiable squalor, Rick took the pictures with him. How did they get back into the apartment? Joyce, meanwhile, has begun searching for Rick and crosses paths with a high-strung performance artist named Tony (Anthony Howard) who looks exactly like Patrick. Rick's nocturnal ramblings eventually take him to a late-night diner, where he strikes up an acquaintance with crime-scene cleaner Moses Jackson (Dudley Findlay Jr.), who has a dying mother and an unwitting connection to Joyce. As Rick, Joyce and Moses blunder through their shared dark night of the soul, propelled by Hal Hartley's quietly menacing score, Maggio uses the dreamlike blur of shot-on-digital nighttime streets to create an anxious atmosphere of near-hallucinatory claustrophobia. The performances are a mixed bag: Jordan and Russell (who starred in Maggio's scrappy, black-and-white debut feature, VIRGIL BLISS) find more depth in their self-absorbed characters than is initially apparent, while Findlay's stagy delivery is distracting, and distraction can be fatal to a story predicated on increasingly bizarre contrivances. But the contrivances culminate in a melancholy resolution that lends a certain quiet gravity to everything that precedes it, a small grace note that rings surprisingly true.
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- Released: 2005
- Rating: NR
- Review: The lives of three deeply unhappy New Yorkers crisscross in unexpected ways in writer-director Joe Maggio's uneven but strangely affecting film, which strongly recalls the late-night odysseys AFTER HOURS and INTO THE NIGHT (both 1985). Hotshot stockbroker… (more)