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Sunday, May 25, 2008


Woody Allen’s British take on Dreiser’s AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (filmed as A PLACE IN THE SUN) was cheered as a major return-to-form, but you’ve got to be a fan of his CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS mode to join in the chorus. (At least there’s no blind Rabbi amongst these Episcopalians.) Jonathan Rhys Meyers is trumps in the social climbing Montgomery Clift role & even looks a bit like Clift. (That is, like Monty after his disfiguring accident.) Scarlett Johansson gets the Shelly Winters spot and has to work mighty hard to dim her natural appeal. But while Allen lards his comedies with serious ideas, he curbs his comic impulse in drama and starves the life out them. (The OTELLO scored murder sequence is a riveting gem, though.) But his oddest move this time comes in upturning Dreiser’s moral message so that the infamous ‘accidental’ murderer is no longer accidental or (irony alert) punished.

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