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'Leo' *** 030505 (Updated review 030806, added screen caps.)
The Work = ***
The second story follows a man named Stephen who has just been released from prison. Stephen is played with skill by Joseph Fiennes. I have to admit I was not a big fan of his work prior to seeing this film but now I believe I was too quick to judge him. Fiennes brings a fractured calmness to the role that speaks wonders for the character's background. It is clear he has been damaged either by his prison stay or by what lead him to be incarcerated in the first place or by both.
How the two stories intertwine I will not go into but I will say that I found it predictable and thought that perhaps the film may have sat better with me had it not taken so long to get to the connection between the two parts. The movie supposedly parallels The Odyssey but I cannot speak to that as I have not read it. (Don't expect me to have any "real" knowledge, I'm only dork who needs to read more and watches too many movies.) The film is made with skill and the director handles the difficult task of filming some pretty dry material (and making it interesting,) very well.
Stephen works at a diner that hires ex cons and treats them with little respect. Part of the problem is a local troublemaker (played by the typecast Dennis Hopper) has bought into the place and shows up every day to degrade and terrorize the staff. His primary target is a beaten down looking waitress played by Deborah Kara Unger. She is so intimidated by his actions that when he says her name she jumps with a start.
What unfolds is a southern drama that is not entirely successful. Hopper especially, is predictable and his final scenes in the film seem tacked on. Once I realized where the story was going there weren’t any more surprises and the film became less engaging That being said, much of 'Leo' is still moving and it has many fine performances, especially from Fiennes. I particularly liked a tense scene between Fiennes, Hopper and Unger at the restaurant. They and the rest of the cast shine through along with the direction and look of the film to overcome its problems.
DVD = ***
Of less substance on the DVD is some behind the scenes footage that runs for about eight and a half minutes showing the crew and cast working on a selection of scenes. There are also a few movie trailers, (for Live Forever in widescreen, Perfect Strangers in fullscreen and Mayor of Sunset Strip in widescreen.) The trailers don’t really have any relation to 'Leo' and annoyingly the trailer for 'Leo' is absent.
All together = ***
*(Thanks to Anthony for the correction on the DVD image.)
Copyright 2005 - 2012 Nate Bundy. All rights reserved.