The Caveman's Valentine (2001)
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as Romulus Ledbetter
as Moira Leppenraub
as Shelia Ledbetter
as Lulu Ledbetter
as David Leppenraub
as Social Worker
as First Reporter
as Young Rom
as Young Lulu
as Byzantine Emperor/Dan
Critic Reviews for The Caveman's Valentine
Lemmons creates mesmerizing passages, but she can't bring this one to a fulfilling crescendo.
Burdened by sloppy plot turns and unbelievable characters.
Jackson's convincing portrayal of an untethered psyche scrambling for purchase on the slippery slope of sanity and Lemmons's arresting cinematic vision, in which we see the world through the eyes of a man continually descending into ...madness, is enough.
What saves the movie from mediocrity is its visual style.
Audience Reviews for The Caveman's Valentine
Romulus Ledbetter: I got freezing temperatures all over my brain. And I got legends of angels up there! Like little moths, and they'll beat the hell out of you with their wings! "Inside a tortured mind... The clues that lead to a killer." This weird crime thriller is just as schizophrenic as its character Romulus. I really don't know exactly what to think about it. As of now, all I really know is that I didn't enjoy it. I wasn't particularly thrilled by the story, nor was I enamored by the style. It was also maybe the first time I have seen Samuel L. Jackson in a movie, and didn't love his performance. His acting was more than just schizophrenic, it was off the wall and over the top. I'm guessing that's what the director wanted because the whole movie came off like that as well. It had all the makings to be a truly intelligent thriller. I liked the initial idea for the movie, but by the thirty minute mark, I was less then thrilled by what was going on. By the hour mark, I knew this wasn't going to be good. And by the hour and a half mark, I really just didn't care anymore. Romulus is a genius musician who attended Juilliard. Now he lives in a cave in a New York City park. He's also crazy as fuck, seeing images and talking to his ex-wife like she is present. He also has a variety of crazy theories. When he finds a frozen corpse in a tree outside of his cave, he starts expressing what he thinks happened, to the police; one of which is his daughter. Obviously they think he is crazy. He decides to try to investigate what is going on by himself. The Caveman's Valentine isn't an unwatchable movie, it's just one that I couldn't particularly get into and enjoy. I normally can enjoy these psychological, mind fuck movies, but this one was either too much or too little. I haven't really decided yet. I still can't really organize my thoughts on this one. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few years and I'll like it. Or maybe I will realize why I disliked it to the extreme of which I did, because normally like a movie or not; I know exactly why. This one... not so much.
Romulus Ledbetter: Sheila, what are you doing here? Sheila: Watching you make a fool of yourself. What are YOU doing here? Romulus Ledbetter: I have to prove Leppenraub is guilty. Sheila: Prove to who? Romulus Ledbetter: To the world. To... to Lulu. Sheila: Lulu needs a father, not some psycho Sherlock Holmes. A mystery featuring Samuel L. Jackson as a deadlocked, delusional, homeless man. The plot of the film is structured like a film noir, which means I get to use the phrase: Delusional Noir. The story is okay, but Jackson gives a fine performance. Bob: What do you play? Romulus Ledbetter: My skull. Jackson stars as Romulus Ledbetter, a brilliant musician who is currently delusional. Living in a cave in Central Park, believing a man on the top the Chrysler Building is plotting against him. Romulus doesn't have it easy. Things are made worse once Romulus discovers a frozen body in his tree, outside his cave one morning. While the police, which includes his daughter, Lulu, pass the body off as an unfortunate homeless victim of weather, Romulus suspects foul play and some interesting connections get him access to the art/photography scene, where he can do some investigating of his own. And if Romulus can just keep it together long enough, he may stumble upon what actually happened. The character of Romulus is the most important factor in this film. Jackson has to appropriately balance the antics of a delusional person, making him both sympathetic and believable to an extent. While Jackson is completely solid in the role, I would have liked it a little more if there was the possibility that Romulus could be wrong about the whole thing. The story of the film is interesting, but it drags a bit and the overall arc isn't entirely original. However, with such a peculiar lead role, it does stay fresh enough. Romulus Ledbetter: I have flocks of angels in my head and that'll beat you down with their wings!
I very much like the idea of this film, it plays on a different perspective and shows graphically the thoughts of SLJ's character through the way he sees it. I don?t, however, think the storyline was adequate enough to suit the plot. SLJ acted ok at times and at others perhaps a little over the top. Nothing special and a bit of an anti climax.
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