'When Will I be Loved' **031105 (Updated on 030406 to correct some problems and add details to the look and the sound sections.)
DVD Review (2004)
The Work = **
'When will I be Loved' struck me as a confused film. I love Neve Campbell's performance. She is an underrated actress that shot to fame in the Scream horror movie series. (Personally, I think her real start came with her small role on the awesome show 'Kids in the Hall'.) I remember liking her in the first 'Scream' and more recently was impressed with her work in a little seen movie I reviewed called 'Panic'. In that film, as in this one, she made a forgettable character memorable.
Here's the problem; in 'Panic' she was backing up great characters played by a stellar cast, here I got great performances but they were knocked down by annoying characters. Let me start with Campbell's boyfriend in the film, Ford, played by Frederick Weller. Good gravy did the early scenes with him rub me the wrong way. I just couldn't enjoy them, I think it was something about the pho' hipness of “Ford” that turned me off.
It got worse too, he plays a conman and his scenes are intercut with Neve Campbell's scenes. His play like some 'Pulp Fiction' knock off and the way 'When Will I be Loved' jumped from following the conman to following his girlfriend seemed like a ridiculous distraction. Maybe, it was my mood when I saw the film or maybe I just didn't get it. In either case I did not really connect with this movie until it was almost halfway over.
Campbell has a scene with Dominic Chianese, (who many of you will recognize as Junior from 'The Sopranos',) and the way she manipulates him gave me chills. Actually, they are both good. I won't go into details but I will say it was the first scene that really grabbed me. Even the opening, which I guess is supposed to be metaphorical, had Neve Campbell nekked' and it didn't really do anything for me.
In the end I enjoyed this film for the performances but I was put off so much by the story of the conman that I really could not enjoy it fully. Had the film focused more or just on Ms Campbell than “Ford” I think I would have enjoyed 'When Will I be Loved' a lot more. James Toback surely has more talent than I ever will but the way he conveys this story just doesn't do it for me. I suggest if you are a die hard Campbell fan or really curious check it out but be aware it is not going to be the smoothest of film journeys.
DVD = ***
This was not the best transfer I have seen. It isn't horrible but the picture looked soft to me and some of the colors in some sequences seemed off. I may be wrong and it could either A) intentional by the filmmakers or B) simply due to the stock it was shot in. I have to say I don't think this was intentional, this movie seems waaaaaaaayyyy too red. In any case it was not terrible but nothing to write home about either. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1.
The sound was pretty good, especially considering the apparent low budget. There were never any instances where I couldn’t hear the dialogue and the score came through clearly. The film is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital. The DVD has subtitles in English and Spanish.
Neve Campbell naked? Just kidding. There are some clips of the film's writer/ director James Toback and Campbell talking about her sex scenes. There is also a commentary track from Toback and some trailers including the one for the title film. Having watched the interview and listened to the commentary track, I can definitely say there was a lot of implied meaning in sequences in the film that I missed. However, it did not make the film any more successful for me. The freaken’ “Ford” character still annoyed me and I still felt the film would have worked for me if it had focused more on Campbell’s character.
All Together = **
So there is the obvious draw for those that are interested: Neve Campbell naked! However Neve naked does not a movie make... Ok, seriously though, I just can't recommend this DVD unless you are a diehard Campbell or Toback fan. Some scenes do work well and parts of the film were both funny and moving. The film was billed as and has been called an erotic thriller, which is pretty disingenuous. It has elements of an erotic thriller but is really a slowly paced drama. Campbell (and Chianese,) especially give great performances and had the film focused on her more I might have been able to stay with it. As it stands though, I'd say probably rent it first if you want to see it.
'When Will I be Loved' Links: