Clever, clever, clever. Craig Lucas' THE DYING GAUL turns the thriller
genre blithely on its head with this trio of awful people who have
little more in common than a moving, autobiographical screenplay that
will receive a complacent makeover, sophisticated hypocrisy, and the
pretense of friendship masking hidden agendas. Robert Sandrich is at
the center of this story -- a writer who has child support to pay and
is in dire need of a hit. He's written this fantastic, beautiful,
evocative story that is based on his own life experience: a love story
between two men that ends in the death of one of them, titled "The
Dying Gaul." Jeffrey Tishop is a movie producer, and is interested...
with one simple condition: it needs changing. American audiences, he
says, hate gays, and will not go to the theatres to see a movie about
two gay men in love. (The movie is set in the mid-90s.) Now, if Robert
changes the male character -- Maurice, also the name of Robert's agent
and longtime lover who has died -- into a woman, it would be perfect.
Robert, understandably, is horrified: he's being asked the unthinkable,
and he has his heart in this story. Jeffrey sleekly tells him, he loves
the story -- and he's even shown it to Gus Van Sant (who at the time
was at his peak). However, the change is necessary.
Robert bolts, but succumbs to one tiny little detail: one million
dollars, payable to him immediately, to which he can after this one
story do whatever he chooses to -- create stories of gay men left and
right, ill or healthy. Robert is in a predicament... and he sells his
Enter Elaine. She's a former screenwriter herself, now living the life
of comfort in her Los Angeles house overlooking the sea. Jeffrey
introduces her to Robert first via his screenplay, which moves her to
tears (as he is deleting all 1172 instances of Maurice and changing it
to Maggie). She later meets him for a night out at the movies, and she
and Robert have the kind of chat that happens when two women are
sharing innermost secrets. Among them is the fact that he's into
internet chat and goes to a specific room in a system not unlike AOL.
Curious about him -- maybe a little too much so -- she follows him into
this chat room using a male identity and uncovers a little bit about
him. Of course, the anonymity of internet chat makes people talk more
than they should, and a later conversation between Elaine and Robert
reveals something crucial, possibly hinted all throughout her marriage,
but there, in front of her, typed words on a monitor.
Craig Lucas discloses himself as a great orchestrator of people
approaching their own realities from an oblique path in his extremely
well plotted out and near perfect story. His use of Steve Reich's music
is stunning, and perfectly counterpoints the plot turns, as well as
sounds per se -- like when Elaine discovers her husband's secret and a
hose goes off, or the shrieks of the Tishop children at the beginning,
bookended by something horrible at the end. If you can overlook the one
point of the story where plausibility might be put into question -- the
fact that Robert would be so gullible to answer an approach as naked as
the one Elaine uses masquerading as "Sean" -- "Anyone here ever lost a
lover?" -- then the rest of the story which follows is a careful
construction of times suspense that doesn't swallow its conceit whole.
Even so, the fulcrum here, online chat, holds itself well being that at
the time there was this innocence about chat rooms. I would have to
believe Robert had only recently taken it up after the pain of losing
Maurice and his overwhelming loneliness, since he doesn't seem to have
friends or a life outside his computer and fiction. Only then could it
jell in a perfect seam. (Then again, anyone who's come into the
Internet for the first time does so with a sense of novelty that only
progressively, after much disappointment, loses its truthfulness.)
Where the story somehow loses a little of its initial punch is when
Elaine takes her online act further as "Arckangel1966". But, for there
to be some form of suspense, it's probably the only way to convey this
progressive bull-fight between her and Robert, and the presentation is
certainly pitch-perfect in letting us see both actors talking directly
to the camera and hear voice-overs of what they're typing, but also
letting us hear her as her male counterpart -- in this case, Maurice
himself. It's suspension of disbelief that pays off.
Neither of the three characters come off naked to us. I think it's a
good thing because it gives their words, their actions, and even small
gestures a hint of duplicity and doesn't allow anyone to come off
smelling like a rose. Jeffrey, for example, states he's shown the
script to Van Sant, but his eyes indicate otherwise. His attraction to
Robert may be sexual, but masks the greed of having your cake and
eating it too. Robert is just creepy: not a bad guy, but a little off,
not above betrayal and even murder. Elaine's motives are, while
understandable, more unclear. Baiting Robert with information she gets
access to through a private investigator is plain ugly. In a way, she's
a new kind of femme fatale -- one that under the guise of an identity
can be anyone. This is one deadly threesome.
Craig Lucas' THE DYING GAUL is a complex film that despite some minor
flaws stemming from its online conceit digs deep into the veneer of
those who seem to have it all, and those who are trying to have it all.
Patricia Clarkson, Campbell Scott, and Peter Sarsgaard are uniformly
flawless in their characters and are reason enough to see this movie..
gaurav.49ahuja watch Joseph: King Of Dreams movie
1) Wanna to see/understand the message the director want to convey. 2) l like peter movies .
clodyie watch The Five People You Meet In Heaven movie
silver linings playbook .
marcekpo watch Batteries Not Included movie
titanic oblivion .
\"Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch who won\"
A charming but duplicitous film producer offers a gay writer a million
dollars for a highly autobiographical script, providing he changes the
gender of one of the characters. Struggling with the implication of
this compromise, and still grieving for his recently deceased partner,
the writer embarks on a friendship with the film producer and his wife.
However, when the producer and the writer become sexually involved, a
twisted psychological game begins.
Based on Lucas's own play, The Dying Gaul is a deeply disturbing
examination of the cause and effect of betrayal and desire, clouding
the definitions of predator and victim - each character is guilty of
manipulation, of deceit, even cruelty, and Lucas cleverly plays with
the viewer's sympathies. That this creates a hugely compelling and
extremely unsettling story is in part down to the performances of his
three leads - Scott deftly coats Jeffrey's steely, uncompromising
centre with snake-like charm and seductive banter, whilst Sarsgaard
brilliantly captures the fragile determination and bewildered
desperation of someone living with grief. Perhaps the most challenging
character in the doomed triangle is Clarkson's Elaine, and a lesser
actor would have missed all the subtle nuances and shades that help us
see why Elaine follows her chosen path. We SHOULD feel sorry for the
betrayed wife, but that would be too easy here. In Clarkson's hands,
Elaine's actions and motivations are both ghastly and deeply moving.
Why neither Clarkson nor Sarsgaard were acknowledged or recognised for
their work here is a mystery.
This is not a film for those who need to be bludgeoned with simple
explanations of the why and wherefore, but those who enjoy challenging,
thought-provoking and slightly obtuse explorations of the human
condition will be greatly rewarded here..