I recently saw The Pledge and having thoroughly enjoyed it thought I should watch this earlier collaboration between Jack Nicholson and writer/director Sean Penn.
I was sorely disappointed.
This film is dreadful. A pretentious script, pretentiously made (there's so much slow motion in it, I'm sure the film would be half an hour shorter if played at normal speed). Overwrought symbolism and often just plain embarrassing: the parallel lives of the Nicholson character and David Morse is a moot point. It's done with all the subtlty of a sledge hammer in the face.
The film is also hopelessly miscast. Nicholson is a fine actor - but here is totally wrong for the part. His overblown, highly-sexed theatrics seem entirely inappropriate for a grieving father. What were they thinking of?
The film is also impossibly boring. I have to admit I finally gave up after 1 hour and 20 mins. Perhaps I should have watched the last half hour - but by that point my wife and I felt we had wasted enough of a precious Saturday evening off. (I read the rest of the plot on Wikipedia - and was relieved to see that I had been spared the worst of it. The ending sounds as if it gets even more ridiculous.)
Definitely one to miss... though I would recommend In The Bedroom [DVD] [2002
] a film with similar story and themes much more maturely and sensitively handled.