When you sit in the theater, staring up at the big screen, during the first few minutes of Smoke, you know you're watching an "Art Movie." Smoke obviously has no misgivings about its place in the film chain, being perhaps the best example of a pure character-driven drama to come along in ages.
The sketchy plotline defies explanation. Basically, Smoke is the lazy, drawn-out story of a smoke shop owner, Auggie (Harvey Keitel), his estranged lover (Stockard Channing), a favorite patron/novelist, Paul (William Hurt), and the young man who saves his life (newcomer Harold Perrineau). As $5,000 is kicked around among these characters, their lives interact in unpredictable ways. Sometimes this is interesting, often it's just tiresome.
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