Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1997. Shooting Gallery, True Fiction Pictures. Screenplay by Hal Hartley. Cinematography by Michael Spiller.Produced by Hal Hartley. Music by Hal Hartley. Production Design by Steve Rosenzweig. Costume Design by Jocelyn Jason. Film Editing by Steve Hamilton. Cannes Film Festival 1998. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
Hal Hartley’s comedy-drama about hidden genius isn’t as richly enjoyable as Amateur but has much to recommend it. James Urbaniak plays a meek garbage man who finds his talents as writer blossom when new room mate Thomas Jay Ryan moves into his basement and starts writing his own inferior confessionals. Intrigued by Ryan’s work, and his practically sociopathic personality, Urbaniak begins writing down his own stories and gets some celebrity notice for it. Parker Posey plays the garbage man’s scatterbrained sister, an unstable imp who gets her hands on the stranger but doesn’t end up all that happy because of it. Brilliant character work isn’t enough to cover up the film’s longer moments, and some audiences will be completely turned off by some very unappetizing sexual scenes.