21 March 2014

The Man Who Cried


The Man Who Cried 2000
  • Director: Sally Potter
  • Based on a book: No
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Harry Dean Stanton
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp  Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Slow Burn, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Arizona Dream, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick of Time, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, Lost in La Mancha, Pirates of the Caribbean (all four of them), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Secret Window, Finding Neverland, Libertine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist
    • Christina Ricci – Sleepy Hollow, The Opposite of Sex, The Ice Storm, Monster, Mermaid
    • Cate Blanchett  Robin Hood, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I’m Not There, Notes on a Scandal, Babel, Little Fish, The Aviator, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Heaven, The Shipping News, The Gift, Elizabeth, Elizabeth the Golden Age
    • John Turturro – Miracle at St. Anna, Margot at the Wedding, Flight of the Conchords, Romance & Cigarettes, Secret Window, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Cradle Will Rock, The Big Lebowsky, Clockers, Fearless, Jungle Fever, Barton Fink, Mo’ Better Blues, Miller’s Crossing, Do the Right Thing, Desperately Seeking Susan
    • Harry Dean Stanton – The Green Mile, She’s So Lovely, Wild at Heart, Last Temptation of Christ, Stars and Bars, Pretty in Pink, Paris Texas, Private Benjamin, The Rose, Alien
  • Why? Johnny Depp. Nineteenth movie of JD marathon.
  • Seen: Once before.  Now: March 15, 2014
       It’s a long and lonely journey for young Fegele. “Little Bird” is what her loving father calls her but he flees the poverty of their Russian village of the 20’s, promising to send for her. But she too is forced to flee and ends up as a foster child in England where she is called Suzie.  She has a singing voice and grows up to go to Paris. Enter JD as a handsome sultry gypsy on a white horse. Paris is invaded by the Nazis.  Suzie flees again, leaving a quietly weeping JD behind, most likely to perish with his extended family in a camp, though there is no hint of that in the film.  Suzie finally comes to America and finds her now wealthy but old and ill father in Hollywood.
       If it seems unlikely, it is no more so than many real life stories.  Does it work as a film? In some ways, yes.  It’s a handsome production with a good-looking cast.  The best scene is JD riding his horse standing up around and around a fountain (or something) with Ricci following him, a brightly lit Eiffel Tower in the background.
       It’s a slow movie, though a lot of things happen.  There are a lot of close up shots of faces but the characters seem oddly remote.  Turturro is good as an egocentric opera singer who supports the Nazis so he can continue singing.  Blanchett is almost unrecognizable as a calculating femme fatale just trying to survive in a man’s world.  Strong characters, strong cast (except for Ricci – the others are acting giants, she is not), strong images, strong story.  It stays with me.

3 * of 5
      
        

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