Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Resisting the expansion urge

By Edward Copeland
Too often when filmmakers choose to turn a short story into a movie, they can't help but enlarge the tale, feeling more is needed to justify feature length. In the case of The Yellow Handkerchief, director Udayan Prasad and screenwriter Erin Dignam have let Pete Hamill's original story dictate their actions and the result is a simple, compact and sweet film.

William Hurt has been so good for so long but it seems as if it's been ages since we've seen him get to strut his stuff in a lead as he does here in The Yellow Handkerchief. Hurt stars as a recently freed ex-con seeking to reconnect with his past who stumbles into the lives of two teens with problems of their owns.

Kristen Stewart plays Martine, uncomfortable with her burgeoning sexuality and unhappy with her home situation. Eddie Redmayne plays Gordy, a teen who seems to have embraced his awkwardness but uses his car as a charm to keep people attracted to his orbit. Both performers are good but I was particularly impressed when I learned Redmayne is British. Why is it that when American actors try different regional dialects they so often stick out like a sore thumb but Brits are so skilled at slipping into American accents without detection?

Much of the film includes flashbacks as Hurt's character as he recalls life with his wife May (Maria Bello) and the events that led to his imprisonment. Hurt's performance is a quiet one, but a powerful one.

Dignam and Prasad have managed to make a movie of The Yellow Handkerchief that really is a poignant filmed essay on loneliness with a little bit of hope for good measure.

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It's interesting how we can find great things in old posts. I like your reviews, Edward.
Thanks. I have so many of my old ones in here, but very few get commented on. Good to know they are being read.
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