Paul Schrader is an excellent writer, and ONLY an excellent writer.
He's written Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of
Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead. Scorcese directed all of them,
and did a damn good job of it. Paul Schrader did NOT direct these
movies, and for good reason. He is, to be perfectly blunt, a
vegetarian director -- his movies have no meat to them.
Auto-Focus is no exception. Although there are stabs at artistry
here and there, Schrader does little to flesh out the story. The
decline of Bob Crane plays like a flip-book flipped far too slowly.
Each element of Crane's movie life (regardless of what is
fictionalized) exists fully as a snapshot. But there is little more
than paste holding the snapshots together. There is no
discernable psychological continuity to create complete person out
of so many events.
Greg Kinnear as Crane does not help matters much. His rigidity is
reminiscent of Tom Cruise's performance in Eyes Wide Shut --
yes, it makes the viewer uncomfortable, but is such superrealism
helpful to a biopic? Kinnear is a good actor, but his Crane is a far
worse actor than the real Crane on his most monodimensional
day. The film result is a man who appears uncomfortable
twenty-four hours a day, yet consistently maintains that his lifestyle
is normal and should be perceived as such. A static, contradictary
cartoon, the same at the beginning of the film as he is in the
That being said, do do DO see this movie for Willem Dafoe. He
lends the movie just enough acting brilliance to keep a
quality-conscious filmgoer in his or her seat. (And keep an eye out
for his next project -- the Keith Richard's Story... jokey...).
davetherave watch Bag Of Bones movie
heat great plot great actors great movie.
Is it a cautionary tale or just Paul Schrader working out more of his demons?
Greg Kinnear does a fine job as real-life actor Bob Crane (star of the
popular TV series "Hogan's Heroes"), a complicated man who quickly
became immersed in the sordid world of pornography. Seems it all starts
with the strip club...just one of the many clich.