Once in the Life Reviews

July 17, 2005
August 16, 2002
It reeks of staged theater: three men in one room talking endlessly.
April 9, 2001
January 1, 2000
The pingpong repetition of dialogue is more precious than poetic and heavy silences and actorly asides draw out a slim story that packs few dramatic surprises.
January 1, 2000
While the line-readings are often dead-on, Fishburne's movie suffers from the usual one-room claustrophobia and Mametian repetitions.
January 1, 2000
Needlessly convoluted storytelling, talkiness and misplaced narrative emphasis.
January 1, 2000
Serves only to demonstrate that Fishburne, a talented, inventive actor, is, unfortunately, not ready to write and direct motion pictures.
January 1, 2000
Never loses its identity as a work meant strictly for the stage.
January 1, 2000
The script bogs itself down in reminiscing passages that steal Life's soul.
January 1, 2000
A hit-and-miss effort.
January 1, 2000
Despite numerous cutaways to juice things up, a movie that once moved becomes static and verbal in the stretch.
January 1, 2000
Without a coherent story to hold our attention, the mood of somber, lower-depths desperation soon becomes monotonous.
January 1, 2000
The film doesn't have a lot to offer that hasn't been done better -- and worse -- in hundreds of ghetto-sink shoot-em.
January 1, 2000
In opening up his play for a filmed version, Once in the Life, Fishburne may have only succeeded in magnifying the flaws of his original.
January 1, 2000
Strictly for die-hard Fishburne fans, and even they might be getting awfully fidgety by the end.
January 1, 2000
Billy's meltdown provides a real-time reality check, but for most of the time we're waiting for the payoff, and when it comes, I'm afraid, it's not very satisfying.
January 1, 2000
Not embarrassing, just not all that interesting, either.
January 1, 2000
The good news is that Fishburne also stars, and has recruited a talented group of actors to flesh out the cast; the bad news is that no one seems to have been on hand to help out with the rest of film.