5.27.2010

Dolan's Cadillac


I think Jeff Beesley's Dolans Cadillac is servicable. It's decent. It's not nearly the adaptation that I would have liked for one of my very favorite novellas (who will do The Sun Dog? who the hell has the rights?), but it's also not that bad.

The major problem with this movie is Wes Bentley. He has one emotional gear and, unfortunately, it is first gear in this film. He plays each scene the same. I think he has promise (honestly, I think he can emote here and then), but in this movie he just moves through each scene with a grim, horizontal line for a mouth. His anguish seems forced; his interactions with the other construction workers (a serious strength in the story) seem forced; his climactic scenes with Dolan, when we're rooting for him, feel forced.

It's really not optimal.

What is optimal is the under-utilized Christian Slater. He is smarmy and slimy and ultimately sicko in this one. Slater can act, and this is not Bed of Roses.

Beesley does a nice job of making us hate Dolan. The semi-comical, mostly-sad shots of the women he takes advantage of deliver a sense of righteous anger about the man. Then, when we see a principled woman lose her life for taking a stand, we're right there in Robinson's corner.

The special effects are strong. Where the story fails is in the exposition of Robinson's change. This is the strength of the novella. In the hands of, say, Frank Darabont, this would have been compelling footage.

But in this movie, which merits a C+, it falls short. It's a decent movie, and well worth your ninety minutes, but it just could have been so very much more...

Kudos to Slater. A slap on the back to Beesley. A handshake to Wes Bentley, and a sincere appeal to take more chances with his emotional range (make some faces, man!)....

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