Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paul Schrader's film Forever Mine

I saw Paul Schrader's film Forever Mine, which came out in year 2000, on television, and I liked it with reservations: the film Forever Mine, which I saw this past wekend, features lush locales and has warm, colorful cinematographer, rather than the dark black-and-white of film noir, but it is a suspense film as well as a love story, though some of it, as regards violence and vengeance, is too predictable. The film begins with male camaraderie, that mix of emasculating insult and mocking fliration, involving "cabana boys," men who work on a beach serving rich people. One of the young men, Alan Riply, is played by Joseph Fiennes and he meets Gretchen Mol's character, Ella Brice, a secretary who married her boss, who is played by Ray Liotta. Love and money, very American subjects. Fiennes looks boyish, slightly starved, and sensitive rather than sensual. Mol looks like a perfect blonde goddess. Her character is religious (she crosses herself; an afffirmation of faith, a seeking of protection). The two kiss within the first twenty minutes of the film, a film that seems a mix of fantasy and reality. The couple part; and the young man, Alan, cannot forget Ella and follows her. Her husband hires thugs who rough Alan up; and the husband tells his wife that Alan his dead. Her offers up the news as if it were dessert. Fiennes' Alan has been disfigured but he is recognizable to me, though not to Ella or her husband when he meets them again, after he has become an important businessman with a Spanish accent and a different name. (Fiennes slender body is unique: there aren't that many grown men who are that thin. His form would itself offer an echo of her past.) It is when Ella kisses the Spanish man (Fiennes) that she recognizes him and cries (very 1940s Hollywood melodrama there). Of course, there are a few determining confrontations before the film's end; and Schrader's filmmaking technique helps to maintain the viewer's regard.