Kings Row Reviews
One of Reagan's best.
it covers a gamut of thematic and relationship ground while still maintaing enough daylight between each to keep them distinct and discerable.
one of a handful of movies that depicts true affection and solidarity among men without pandering to pc mores.
A fluctuating jumble of curious story, off-and-on acting, and near disastrous direction. The screenplay has the characters acting so blatantly phony that it is no chore to find a world of fantasy within the film ? the entire world.
The film itself ? the structure, the architecture ? looks beautiful on remastered stock, but creates an eerie glow as 1942 comes shimmering through as though it were 1997. Some effects, however, create obvious dating for the film: the special effects for a simple lightning storm, for example, appear as though Nazi Germany is bombing Paris in an evening blitzkrieg. Though these startling exaggerations hit the viewer as absurd, he is quickly returned to a world of plastic dialogue, contrived emotions, and a story that seemingly looks for direction like a ribbon in the wind.
The film?s most egregious absurdity is its exaggeration. The dialogue, coerced from some unreal aquifer, is occasionally broken by unbelievable displays of emotion. A scene in a matriarch?s chamber, for example, has the villa?s housekeeper weeping so vehemently that it is unclear whether the film will turn into an opera.
Ironically, the direction of Sam Wood throws some occasional medicine into the mix ? some brilliantly-framed camera shots occasionally resuscitate a film in need of serious medical attention. One shot in particular, in the film?s beginning, magically bridges ten years of time without a single word, a change in scenery, nor ever raising the camera above young Scotty Beckett?s feet. Though this is a credit to the film?s more effective participants, such gems are quickly overshadowed by its flamboyantly surreal counterparts until a viewer is again so cordoned off from reality that he can no longer feel his pulse.
The most vital instrument, the storyline, rubberbands between seasons of hot and cold but generally wanders back into a zone of interest. Static interest is generated in the first 60 minutes, for example, by the bizarre, unanswered behavior of a young woman?s father, and his impact which is both visible and ugly on her. When this extended tease wears down, however, the story degenerates into an amalgam of character profiles, in a town that none of us know, nor care to imagine.
In all, the film is a lot like its subject matter. The closing scenes, a twist on the emerging field of psychiatry, show a protagonist reveling not in triumph but false hope and denial, a pseudo-happiness generated by the sheer tragedy around him. Perhaps the producers, in the same vein, entertained denial as they lauded themselves for a film that couldn?t walk ? a film without legs.
Overall rating: C+