Amateur Movie Review

Hal Hartley's latest film, Amateur, is quite a departure from his earlier work. Still gone is his once-traditional lead, the crimson-haired ingenue Adrienne Shelly (who hasn't been seen since Trust), and in her stead are two foreign actresses, Isabelle Huppert (as a lapsed nun trying to make it as a porn story writer and who believes she is a nymphomaniac) and Elena Lowensohn (returning to Hartley's films as Sofia, a somewhat psycho porn star). Hartley's favorite male lead, Martin Donovan, remains as Thomas, the slimeball husband of Sofia.

The plot is this: Sofia is fed up with Thomas, so she tries to kill him. He doesn't die--he just cracks his head and develops amnesia. Isabelle finds him and takes him under her already fragile wing. Throw in an extortion plot wherein the old Thomas was trying to blackmail a nameless entity, and add the thugs trying to kill him. Eventually, everyone gets sucked into this scheme, and nothing works out for any of them.

Why Amateur? Well, all the principals are new at something: Isabelle is new at the porn game and a virgin to boot. Sofia is new at trying to extort money from someone. Thomas is new to life in general. Clever, right?

Well.... The problem is that the plot is revealed so cryptically and moves so slowly that it renders the movie stagnant. It's difficult to follow, and the characters drone on and on at each other, philosophizing at length, about what, I can't even remember. The action/comedy sequences are superb, but there just aren't enough of them to carry the film. The end result is that Amateur is a fabulous story that's told rather badly.

At least the acting is on target, and the story is original. And some of the film's scenes, especially the ones involving the two thugs, Thomas's old partner, and his torture and revenge, are so bright as to dim the rest of the movie.

Hartley's characteristic oddball-ness is here, all right, but the fresh and funny approach to the way we live our lives is absent. Amateur could have been an action-driven comedy instead of a sloppy narrative; Hartley made a "deep" and tragic movie about big-time people. Whereas a movie like Trust, a film about lower-middle class twentysomethings, was a comedic riot. Hal, I hope you return to your old ways.

And I miss Adrienne, too.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : ,


Comments

Amateur Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 1995

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer Is Here: Was It Worth The Wait?

The moment Fifty Shades of Grey fans have been waiting for is finally...

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Trailer Is Here: Was It Worth The Wait?

Alec Baldwin (Mostly) Off The Hook On Disorderly Conduct Charges

Alec Baldwin was in court on Tuesday, facing charges of disorderly...

Alec Baldwin (Mostly) Off The Hook On Disorderly Conduct Charges

Pitbull feat. John Ryan - Fireball

Pitbull drops his eighth studio album 'Globalization' later this year and...

Pitbull - Fireball Video

The British Film Institute: 'There Are Too Many Films'

The BFI have condemned the amount of films released in British cinemas...

The British Film Institute: 'There Are Too Many Films'

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

Early reviews of Scarlett Johansson’s new movie Lucy are piling up...

What The Critics Are Saying About Scarlett Johansson's 'Lucy'

Dwayne Johnson Battles His Way Through Non-Stop Absurdity In "Hercules"

It’s Hercules time! So we know that Dwayne Johnson made a lot...

Dwayne Johnson Battles His Way Through Non-Stop Absurdity In
Advertisement

Arty Ft. Angel Taylor - Up All Night [Lyric] Video

Russian musician Arty has collaborated with Angel Taylor on his latest single 'Up All Night', released on...

Arty - Up All Night (Lyric Video) Video

Those Colin Farrell for 'Iron Man 4' Rumors Refuse To Die

Rumors are abound that seminal Iron Man actor, Robert Downey Jr, will not be...

Those Colin Farrell for 'Iron Man 4' Rumors Refuse To Die

Marvel Announces Release Date for Unknown Movie - What Could It Be?

Last week Marvel studios took the unusual step of announcing five upcoming...

Marvel Announces Release Date for Unknown Movie - What Could It Be?


More recommendations

Advertisement