William Vincent (James Franco) is a man
who erased his past after a plane he was supposed to be on crashed into a mountain.
He edits nature videos in an empty storefront in Chinatown where he also lives. His meaningless
pick pocketing brings him to the attention of a New York gangster (Josh Lucas)
who wants William to work for him. The gangster uses Victor as his middleman
and William (unfortunately) falls for gangster's girl, Ann (Julianne Nicholson).
Soon William is threatened and told to leave New York City and never see
Ann again under the pain of death. William stays away for four years until
he wants to rescue Ann from her fate.
SHADOWS AND LIES is a dreary and slow neo
noir. It tries to come off like what if Terrance Malick directed a film noir and instead you end up with this plodding snoozer.
It drags everything out as the characters are doomed to live out their lives with no hope for anything better. What makes it worse is the film doesn't give me any reason to care for these
characters who do bad things with not enough to show the good side of who they are.
It is like they are playing out the moments as time ticks away. They
live their lives by routine and they just don't seem very alive. The cinematography
sometimes is interesting, but it doesn't save the film from a story that feels like it is twice as long. Even the music is the same repeated pieces. I know writer/ director Jay Anania is trying to make a poetic piece of noir, but most people
will not get it as they want something more layered or more fast paced. It tries to be a poetic slow burn only to be a slow drag you should skip.
this DVD review is (c)6-7-2011 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org