Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Handsome Harry

Bette Gordon’s film is that rarity these days, an American film which deals with mature characters facing life and the choices they’ve made, possessed of uncommon intelligence and subtlety.

April 16, 2010

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/135549-Handsome_Harry_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

An authentic male weepie, with far more substance and nuance than most male-oriented films, Handsome Harry tracks the progress of Harry (Jamey Sheridan), as he fulfills the dying wish of an old Navy comrade (Steve Buscemi) and goes on a road trip, seeking out his former sailor buddies to discover the truth behind a shameful incident which has haunted them all through the years.

Director Bette Gordon is completely attuned to the intelligent, sensitively wrought screenplay by Nicholas T. Proferes, and draws strong performances from her impressive cast. Its middle-aged male characters deal with life’s curve balls as well as its gifts, each of them marked with a deep, underlying melancholy. Despite some valiant attempts to keep up and stay in touch, the world seems to have passed them by in a way that can’t be ignored, however many expensive toys and women they possess.

Sheridan, who has long been one of the most attractive, underutilized actors in the business, is wonderfully understated and moving as Harry, initially coming across as a popular, small-town Everyday Joe, but whose singular, solitary nature sets him apart. John Savage has a banked, time-bomb intensity as Peter, a real-estate mogul, whose “perfect” life dissolves when his wife (a touching Mariann Mayberry) makes a play for Harry. Equally successful Gebhardt (Titus Welliver) seems your basic golf-obsessed aging yuppie, but his paraplegic wife and born-again tendencies reveal some unsettling things, and Welliver plays him to suburbanite perfection. Aidan Quinn registers strongly as well, as a college professor whose experience has made him resolutely anti-military. Karen Young is ingratiatingly real as the hash slinger who harbors a wry yet intense attraction for the maddeningly evasive Harry.

With smoothly attractive cinematography and a tasty jazz-inflected score, Gordon also manages to pull off the difficulty of flashbacks involving younger actors playing these men in their Navy days, scenes which quietly attain a compelling whodunit force. By the time Campbell Scott appears as the victim of the men’s youthful macho brutality, you are totally in thrall to the story. Gordon beautifully ends her film with a truly haunting ambivalence, as well as a sexy wink that reads as a heartbreakingly poignant final grace note.


Film Review: Handsome Harry

Bette Gordon’s film is that rarity these days, an American film which deals with mature characters facing life and the choices they’ve made, possessed of uncommon intelligence and subtlety.

April 16, 2010

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/135549-Handsome_Harry_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

An authentic male weepie, with far more substance and nuance than most male-oriented films, Handsome Harry tracks the progress of Harry (Jamey Sheridan), as he fulfills the dying wish of an old Navy comrade (Steve Buscemi) and goes on a road trip, seeking out his former sailor buddies to discover the truth behind a shameful incident which has haunted them all through the years.

Director Bette Gordon is completely attuned to the intelligent, sensitively wrought screenplay by Nicholas T. Proferes, and draws strong performances from her impressive cast. Its middle-aged male characters deal with life’s curve balls as well as its gifts, each of them marked with a deep, underlying melancholy. Despite some valiant attempts to keep up and stay in touch, the world seems to have passed them by in a way that can’t be ignored, however many expensive toys and women they possess.

Sheridan, who has long been one of the most attractive, underutilized actors in the business, is wonderfully understated and moving as Harry, initially coming across as a popular, small-town Everyday Joe, but whose singular, solitary nature sets him apart. John Savage has a banked, time-bomb intensity as Peter, a real-estate mogul, whose “perfect” life dissolves when his wife (a touching Mariann Mayberry) makes a play for Harry. Equally successful Gebhardt (Titus Welliver) seems your basic golf-obsessed aging yuppie, but his paraplegic wife and born-again tendencies reveal some unsettling things, and Welliver plays him to suburbanite perfection. Aidan Quinn registers strongly as well, as a college professor whose experience has made him resolutely anti-military. Karen Young is ingratiatingly real as the hash slinger who harbors a wry yet intense attraction for the maddeningly evasive Harry.

With smoothly attractive cinematography and a tasty jazz-inflected score, Gordon also manages to pull off the difficulty of flashbacks involving younger actors playing these men in their Navy days, scenes which quietly attain a compelling whodunit force. By the time Campbell Scott appears as the victim of the men’s youthful macho brutality, you are totally in thrall to the story. Gordon beautifully ends her film with a truly haunting ambivalence, as well as a sexy wink that reads as a heartbreakingly poignant final grace note.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Drive Hard
Film Review: Drive Hard

A car-chase-heavy clunker whose vehicular set-pieces are almost as lame as the recurring sight of star John Cusack attempting to look cool while firing pistols. More »

Harmontown
Film Review: Harmontown

Open-nerve documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s chaotic live podcast tour after being fired from his own TV show is sometimes raggedly funny, but truly a fans-only artifact. More »

The Liberator
Film Review: The Liberator

Impressively mounted but overly truncated take on a great historical figure about whom much more needs to be known. More »

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Film Review: The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

Wide-ranging primer is involving but leaves some details hazy. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

The Boxtrolls
Film Review: The Boxtrolls

Another amazingly meticulous and stylish stop-motion tale from the Laika studio, this time focusing on a boy adopted by a population of maligned underground trolls. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here