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The Dying Gaul back to product details

A Different Look at Hollywood
written by talltale March 25, 2006 - 3:18 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Over the decades there have been many insider views of Hollywood, from "The Bad and the Beautiful" to "Swimming With Sharks." These are often fun, sometimes savage and rarely uninteresting. One of the most fascinating of all (and expertly written, directed and acted) is THE DYING GAUL, Craig Lucas' look at a Hollywood power broker, his wife and the up-and-coming screenwriter he buys and beds. This is Lucas' first foray into directing, and he's certainly learned his craft.

I saw the NYC production of the play (on which this film is based) some years back and found it an equally fine piece of legitimate theatre (with one of--perhaps the--best stage performances I have ever seen given by a man--Tony Goldwyn). While the movie does not quite match the play's economy and expertise in dealing with hypocrisy, sexuality, the Internet, trust, jealousy and betrayal, it comes close.

The performances by Sarsgaard, Clarkson and Scott are wonderful, and Lucas has opened up his play so well that the viewer feels a sense neither of confinement nor of being forced into new, unnecessary territory. The movie is full of effortlessly smart dialog, and there's not a moment that registers as unbelievable. When melodrama threatens, the actors handle it with great panache. (Even the DVD's alternate ending works quite well.)

This is dark stuff. Lucas seems to be exploring darkness these days, but it is a worthwhile search for him--and for us. His work, from "Blue Window" onwards, continues its exemplary insistence on investigation and honesty coupled to a lovely, caring feeling for all his characters, no matter who they are or what they do.


(Average 6.76)
38 Votes
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