Village Voice 05.10.2017 : Page 42

44 May 10 -May 16, 2017 Doubles, Anyone? Suture ’s cross-racial noir twinning demands rediscovery BY DANNY KING The stuff of Suture (1993) — a Hitchcock-echoing wrong-man narrative shot in noir-indebted black-and-white and replete with big guns and hokey psy-choanalysis — is the stuff of Hollywood. But co-writers and -directors Scott McGe-hee and David Siegel, who are both white and who were in their early thirties and in-experienced in moviemaking when they collaborated on the project, complicated the familiar package with an audacious, even bizarre racial doubling. Nobody in the world of Suture can tell apart the leads, two estranged brothers who are far from dead ringers: the bus-riding Clay Arling-ton (Dennis Haysbert, then little-known), a black man who dresses in jeans and baseball caps, and the insidiously wealthy Vincent Towers (Michael Harris), a white man with prim suits and an ominously spare Phoenix apartment. Another noir element in Suture ’s DNA is the intrigue-generating flashback-plus-narration structure. The movie opens with a tease of a climactic bathroom The check mark indicates a Village Voice critics’ pick. shootout, plus heady voiceover from a yet-to-be-introduced therapist (Sab Shi-mono). But the story begins well before and hinges on that audience-challenging premise, as Clay and Vincent, reunited in the wake of their father’s death-by-homicide, marvel at the closeness of their likenesses — a closeness that viewers just have to accept. It’s this “resemblance” that sets the gears into motion: Vincent, guilty of the father’s murder (a means to gain an inheritance), engineers a second killing by which Clay will die via car bomb and, when found with Vincent’s ID on his person, be identified as the chief suspect in the first murder. Though severely wounded, particu-larly in the face, Clay survives the explo-sion, foiling the plan. But he wakes up with amnesia, thus helping to cement the fictitious reality — explained to him by a doctor called Renée Descartes (Mel Har-ris), her name this movie’s idea of a joke — that he is, indeed, Vincent Towers. Haysbert makes for a suitably agonized lead, whispering weakly from beneath a blanket of gauze as he tries to make sense of Clay’s night-marish predicament. Suture Unlike another anxious Directed by Scott American tale of facial recon-McGehee and struction and existential David Siegel Plays May 13 worry, John Frankenheimer’s Metrograph Suture , made indepen-claustrophobic Seconds dently on a strung-(1966), Suture was shot together budget of $1 (by Greg Gardiner) in the million, was greeted upon release with widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. McGehee befuddlement and minimal returns. and Siegel use the ’Scope format to en-(Steven Soderbergh, an indispensable grossingly cerebral ends: When the cam-era circles the Rorschach-blotted office of late-in-the-game backer — he’s credited as an executive producer — will appear in a kindly shrink (Shimono), it’s as if it were conversation with McGehee and Siegel probing someone’s brain; the littered-in flashes of Clay’s dreams, like the image of following Metrograph’s DCP screening.) But it stands to gain an admiring audi-him standing by a highway at night in a ence. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray tight-fitting tuxedo, are made even more last year by Arrow Video, and its low-disorienting by the generous canvas. VILLAGE A Haysbert in a riddle in an enigma in an eyepatch Photofest budget flair and prickly puzzle-piece logic anticipate the work of Shane Carruth and Christopher Nolan. In their devotion to abstract concepts, McGehee and Siegel, like the Nolan of Inception (2010), deny their characters plentiful inner lives. But in the eerie coda, a series of still frames over which Shimono’s voice intones, or a scene of Renée describing Clay’s facial composition, framed in a gorgeous close-up on Haysbert, Suture opens up, if only briefly, to the conflicted human being supporting its enigmatic story. The Trip to Coppola Paris Can Wait squanders Diane Lane — and lots of nice dinners W BY APRIL WOLFE here are the goddamned roles for Diane Lane? Since her career launched in 1979 with a starring turn as a precocious thirteen-year-old Ameri-can girl in Paris in A Little Romance , Lane seems to have confused casting direc-tors: Is she the button-nosed embodi-ment of joie de vivre or the anarchist postpunk tempest of Ladies and Gentle-men, the Fabulous Stains (1982)? Confusing the matter further, she does both equally well, but that angelic face of hers lends itself easily to the rom-com, of which she’s done quite a few notables, like Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and Must Love Dogs (2005). Now, because she had the temerity to age past forty, Lane’s frequently relegated to the wife/ mother combo in films like Man of Steel and Trumbo , which is why the prospect of her return to a plum part in a roman-tic comedy — Paris Can Wait , from di-rector Eleanor Coppola — sounded so promising. There are never enough middle-aged actors leading comedies. Unfortunately, the film, about a married woman who embarks on an impromptu and unexpectedly romantic road trip with a Frenchman, is a half-baked mess. The entire narrative plays out over a series of meals: Imagine The Trip meets Lost in Translation (Coppo-la’s daughter Sophia’s debut), but with stale dialogue and without much in the way of either romance or comedy. (If you enjoy sumptuous food photogra-phy, however, you’re in luck, as these Provençal meals get much screen time.) Anne (Lane), a retired dress shop owner, and her film producer husband, Michael (Alec Baldwin), are supposed to leave Cannes for Budapest, but she Anne take this in, she tilts her face can’t fly because of an ear infection. Mi-downward, mutters something about chael’s business partner Jacques (Arnaud carrots, and the narrative meanders on Viard) generously offers to drive her to to the next meal. Paris, where the couple will rendezvous. Scattered amid these repasts, Anne’s Coppola, whose own career was derailed constantly calling her daughter back by husband Francis’s, based this story — home in California. At one point, the car her narrative feature debut — on her own breaks down on the side of the road. experiences. And the film suffers for it; the Jacques, who’s in no hurry to get to Paris story’s premise demands that Jacques chip (it can wait, remember), away at Anne’s pristine exte-lays out a picnic while rior to expose her more vulner-Anne chats with the kid, able side (and vice versa), but Paris Can Wait who tells her mom that Coppola annoyingly guards Directed by the one-sentence de-Anne, almost as though she’s Eleanor Coppola Sony Pictures scription of her road trip conflicted about projecting Classics “sounds boring.” Anne any decipherable emotions or Opens May 12, turns away and rattles opinions onto a version of Paris Theatre off, “Oh my god, you herself. And there’s no chance and Angelika Film Center have no idea.” But nei-of comedy if Anne isn’t a ther do we. There’s abso-multidimensional character. lutely no way to tell how “It’s the best time of the Anne feels about Jacques, her husband, year to eat young animals,” says Jacques in or the loss of her career. Worst of all, one of the many, many dinner scenes Lane is wasted here. In Coppola’s rush where — in stark contrast to Anne’s stingy to zoom to the next bit of trivial dia-husband — he orders nearly everything on logue or five-course meal, she also flies the menu. What an awkward thing to say; right by Lane and her character. it should be funny! But instead of seeing

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