Romantic drama from writer and director Hal Hartley following the comic antics of two brothers determined to trace their missing father, a former baseball champion and student radical, who is somewhere on Long Island. With the brothers' search leading them to two different women, they encounter passion and insight into the father they have not seen for so long.
opens with small-time hood Bill (Robert Burke from RoboCop 3
) asking a bound and blindfolded security guard if he can have the guard's Virgin Mary medallion; "Be good to her and she'll be good to you", says the guard. Immediately after, Bill is double-crossed by his girlfriend and his partner. From there, the plot goes off in a completely different direction: Bill and his younger brother Dennis (William Sage, High Art
), a philosophy student, go off in search of their father, a former star shortstop who may have committed a bombing many years ago. Their only clue is a phone number on Long Island; they end up at a cafe run by Kate (Karen Sillas, Female Perversions
), which is also the hang-out for Elina Loewensohn (Nadja
) and Martin Donovan (Hollow Reed
, The Opposite of Sex
). Plot is never the point in Hal Hartley movies (Trust
, Henry Fool
); it's just a clothesline on which to hang odd, quirky scenes--moments like Donovan and Sage trying to imitate Loewensohn's dance movements to a Sonic Youth song or a half-drunken conversation about pop music and self-exploitation. Hartley's deliberately stilted dialogue and stylised performances actually play better on video; the movie feels more intimate, making the humour more relaxed and fluid. Hartley is the kind of idiosyncratic filmmaker who provokes love-him-or-hate-him responses, but there's a deep sincerity to his artifices that goes beyond mere posing. Against all commercial wisdom, he's struggling to find his own cinematic poetry. Such an uncommon aspiration is worth checking out. --Bret Fetzer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.