Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Collaborator

In his debut auteurial flourish, writer-director-writer Martin Donovan proves himself a triple-threat bore.

July 5, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1352648-Collaborator_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Robert Longfellow (Martin Donovan) is a New York playwright suffering from a general malaise. His last play was savaged by the critics and his marriage, like his career, seems to be at a dead end. He goes home to Los Angeles to stay with his mother (Katherine Helmond) and sniff out schlocky movie job possibilities. Two people from his past pop up—an old girlfriend, Emma (Olivia Williams), and his neighbor, Gus (David Morse), an alcoholic ex-con still living at home and all too eager to renew a relationship with Robert which never much existed in the first place, due to their basic differences. The first reunion is rather sweet, with a possibility of creative collaboration, the latter one less so, as Gus suddenly takes Robert hostage in his own home, with a SWAT team all too ready to fire on them outside.

Donovan not only stars in Collaborator, but wrote and directed the film, which might—I say “might”—have been more effective on the stage. It’s basically a two-hander, as Robert and the unwilling Gus are holed up together, getting high and doing an awful lot of aimless jawing. On the screen, it’s a pretty deadly affair, as you simply don’t care about the characters, who all seem hollow, writerly conceits. There’s a parched feeling to the whole enterprise: Not enough happens, and what does is predictable in the extreme.

Donovan almost seems a caricature of himself, that alienated, rather sad sack familiar from all those Hal Hartley movies. Morse tries way too hard to be at once menacing and filled with a gruff, unsettling bonhomie. Williams is completely wasted and Helmond a mere caricature of old age.


Film Review: Collaborator

In his debut auteurial flourish, writer-director-writer Martin Donovan proves himself a triple-threat bore.

July 5, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1352648-Collaborator_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Robert Longfellow (Martin Donovan) is a New York playwright suffering from a general malaise. His last play was savaged by the critics and his marriage, like his career, seems to be at a dead end. He goes home to Los Angeles to stay with his mother (Katherine Helmond) and sniff out schlocky movie job possibilities. Two people from his past pop up—an old girlfriend, Emma (Olivia Williams), and his neighbor, Gus (David Morse), an alcoholic ex-con still living at home and all too eager to renew a relationship with Robert which never much existed in the first place, due to their basic differences. The first reunion is rather sweet, with a possibility of creative collaboration, the latter one less so, as Gus suddenly takes Robert hostage in his own home, with a SWAT team all too ready to fire on them outside.

Donovan not only stars in Collaborator, but wrote and directed the film, which might—I say “might”—have been more effective on the stage. It’s basically a two-hander, as Robert and the unwilling Gus are holed up together, getting high and doing an awful lot of aimless jawing. On the screen, it’s a pretty deadly affair, as you simply don’t care about the characters, who all seem hollow, writerly conceits. There’s a parched feeling to the whole enterprise: Not enough happens, and what does is predictable in the extreme.

Donovan almost seems a caricature of himself, that alienated, rather sad sack familiar from all those Hal Hartley movies. Morse tries way too hard to be at once menacing and filled with a gruff, unsettling bonhomie. Williams is completely wasted and Helmond a mere caricature of old age.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Film Review: The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

Venture inside the hallowed hallways of Japan's most prestigious animation studio in this insightful documentary. More »

Antarctica: A  Year On Ice
Film Review: Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Thrilling, award-winning New Zealand doc about the mysterious and forbidding continent at the bottom of the world is not your usual travelogue, but a surprising exploration of the human soul and human needs. Happily, adorable penguins and stunning visuals also get screen time. More »

Remote Area Medical
Film Review: Remote Area Medical

Doc offers in-the-trenches evidence of dire need in the U.S. health-care system. More »

Immortalists
Film Review: The Immortalists

Attention-grabbing subject meets colorful characters in this science doc. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Penguins of Madagascar
Film Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Frenetic vehicle for supporting players from the Madagascar films will entertain kids but prove a little wearying for their parents. More »

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. 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