Wednesday, October 14, 2009
"New York, I Love You" ...but not for what's in this movie
Instead, it offers ten mini-stories by ten different directors, linked only by contrivance, collectively portraying NY as depressing and tense. Of them, only two even bring a smile: a verbose pick-up outside a bar with Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q, and a pressured "take my daughter (Olivia Thirlby) to the prom" that the young escort (Anton Yelchin) finds especially memorable. Overall, there's little joy in The City.
In fact, a heartland viewer might think the Apple offers mainly bars, street chaos and desperation, that smoking is de rigeur, and nobody has a regular-hours job. The only religious people portrayed in the film--Hasidic Jews--are even weirder than their fur-cylinder hats: In that segment, diamond-buyer Natalie Portman confides intimately in her east Indian Jain supplier (Irfan Kahn), while perpetrating the ridiculous myths that kosher food is blessed, and that ultra-orthodox married women shave their heads.
FYI, New York is alive with enthusiasm, dynamism, creativity, spiritual attainment, and satisfied, joyful citizens. Too bad the film ends before we find any of them.