Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Boys are Back

Here’s the kind of rare film that should work on every level, not fall just short of being a melodramatic soap opera. Put a respected director (Scott Hicks, who made Shine) in with a talented, ferocious actor (Clive Owen), give them a plot involving insurmountable grief, mix it with a seasoned crew, and you should have greatness, right? But instead we’re left wondering, “Where did it go wrong?”

Certainly not with Owen, who, like always, makes the best of whatever material he’s given. Owen plays Joe Warr, a talented British sportswriter living in Australia who suddenly loses his wife to a hellacious bout of cancer. Now Joe, who was gone on business most of the time, has to care for his young son, and keep his career going. (Who knew those pesky dishes were such a hassle?)

Joe’s ex wife hears of the recent tragic news and immediately demands that Joe’s older son come out from the UK to stay with Joe and his young boy. Now this is where things start to go wrong. I didn’t buy, for a second, that Joe’s ex would just ship their son off so that Joe, deep in the throes of grief, could take care of him. I mean seriously, what kind of bitch would do that? How could she possibly think that this guy could take care of a teenager, let alone a ten-year-old, after losing his wife?

Oh well, it is what it is, given its small release most of you probably won't see the film anyway. No worries, it’s not going to get any Oscar love. Which is a shame, if worked a little differently, Owen would be at the top of the short list for Best Actor. C-

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