Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Real Deal

Many John Cassavetes aficionados consider A Woman Under the Influence (1974, Criterion, $39.95 147 minutes) his preeminent effort, an amazingly orchestrated indie/art film that wears its soul on its sleeve, a peering-into-the-abyss look at the state of Middle- American womanhood with a brave and unadorned central performance from the innovator/director/writer’s wife Gena Rowlands, buoyed by a particularly astute supporting turn by Cassavetes bud Peter Falk. It’s a harrowing and hypnotic long day’s journey into suburban catatonia, rippling with energy and grit, in-your-face camerawork, all of it propelled by Cassavetes unique distillation of the proto-real, a combination of verve, technique, and style that not many filmmakers have even come close to duplicating. Not for everyone, but scintillating and overtly original for those who can hang on for the jumpy and truly stimulating ride.

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