Returning from twelve dazzling, sun-dappled, art infested days in Rome and Florence, submitting to my remedy for jet lag, movies. I could not have chosen two more diametrically different themes; both worthy of four stars.
“Cost of a Soul” is morbidly depressing, but brutally realistic. Sean Kirkpatrick has given birth to the quintessential “Murphy’s Law” film; two soldiers back from the war in Iraq, faced and embraced by the battlefield, thriving and alive in their neighborhood; a depressed Irish, African American section of Philadelphia. Tommy Donahue (played by a James Dean lookalike, Chris Kerson) is sucked back into his miscreant life by his former gangster boss; his struggle to escape the bleakness and inevitability of this course, fruitless because of the dependency of his wife Faith (Judy Jerome) and daughter Hope (Maddie Morris Jones), suffering from cerebral palsy. Darren Davis (brilliantly charismatic, Will Blagrove) strives to save his younger brother from the quicksand of the drug culture, the profession practiced by his older brother.
“Cost of a Soul” is a song played by saxophonist Darrren, the music and corresponding footage give the film its depth, depicting the price of a soul, the insignificance of a life, the predestined outcome of ill fated choices. The scanty audience groaned in unison, the timely torturous scenes cruel in their predictability, the poignant music, more eloquent because it cloaks the devastation, demise of hopeful spirits; light, blighted by circumstance, cast into an eternity of blackness.
Religious metaphor festers beneath the surface; a possible redemption for irredeemable actions; the cost of a soul, never determined, once lost, leaving a fathomless void; one questions the significance of its existence.
THE DOUBLE HOUR (Italian with English subtitles)
A prime example of why I live and breathe movies. “The Double Hour” is wonderful; a perfect concoction of romance, mystery, titillating thriller; the acting, sublime. Every breathtaking second, with roller coaster exhilaration, keeps the audience suspended, prisoner, an emotional captive of each sensational turn of events; dreading the ride’s termination.
Commencing with a simple scenario: Guido (stunningly handsome, Filippo Timi, “Vincere”) meets Sonia (beguiling, Kseniya Rappoport) at a speed- dating service; their chemistry cataclysmic; two souls meant to bind, destined for bliss. But forces of mythic proportions intervene: mayhem, murder, subterfuge kidnap the plot and never ransom a scene. Ambushed, the viewer wallows in vacillation; nothing, and no one is as it seems, reminiscent of Brian De Palma movies; trusting the obvious creates fools of the trustees’.
Being the progeny of a lawyer, priding my gift of “guessing”, I am never more gratified than when surprised, proven incorrect. “The Double Hour” is pure, pleasurable entertainment on every level; masticating and swallowing this delicious, corpulent feast, supremely satiated, doubly satisfied.