Simpatico Movie Review
By being as straightforward as, well, a horse race. It's just a big loop from start to finish. No real surprises along the way, just jockeying for position. Simpatico finishes right where it started, with a time of 106 minutes.
Based on the play by Sam Shepard, Nolte, Bridges, and Stone play a trio of friends, long since torn apart by a scam gone awry in their youth. As we quickly learn, Bridges (now a famous horse breeder and racer) is now being blackmailed by his old pal Nolte (now a bum in California).
The plot thickens. Nolte phones out of the blue: Something is amiss. Bridges quickly flies to California, but things don't go as planned.
The problem with Simpatico is that no one expects things to go as planned. That Nolte is going to double-cross Bridges is a given. Exactly why is a mystery, and that's one that, sadly, never gets explained. In fact, that can be said for the entire film. Example: Why Bridges decides to send Nolte's girlfriend to Kentucky to work a deal for him is inexplicable and bizarre.
Ditto the behavior of all the characters. Simpatico merits barely a "Hmmm" on the surprise-o-meter. Instead of crafting deft plot twists, the film relies on random behavior and a confusing structure designed to dole the story out in tiny bits over the entire running time.
Why? If they told it like it really was, you'd realize there wasn't much of a movie here. Simpatico is a very pretty film, and its stars do as much as possible with their roles. It's just that the roles don't do much for them.
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