Alles aus Liebe – Call it Love (1997)

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Alles aus Liebe – Call it Love: Directed by Nick Cassavetes. With Robin Wright, James Gandolfini, Susan Traylor, Harry Dean Stanton. After being released from a psychiatric institution, a man tries to redeem himself in the eyes of his now-ex wife from the events that led up to his incarceration.

“Maureen is a bit strung out and pregnant from her low-life husband Eddie. Their lives are an unpredictable mix of actions that mostly involve drinking and scamming round on the fringe of society. When Eddie is u0026quot;awayu0026quot; for a few days, Marueen falls in drinking with neighbour Kiefer, who tries to rape her but then just beats her. She explains this away to Eddie so as to keep him from going crazy at her or anyone else but when he does start to flip she calls the paramedics to take him into care for his own safety. However when he shoots one of them, Eddie is sentenced to a mental institution. When he comes out he finds that Maureen has divorced him and has moved onto a much more stable and reliable man in the form of Joey, with whom she has had more children.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAlmost halfway in it becomes evident that this film isnu0026#39;t going to work out that well because, before the u0026quot;10 years lateru0026quot; jump, the love between the two leads hasnu0026#39;t been established to a convincing degree. Given that the narrative is using this mutual attraction (despite all the negatives) as its lynchpin this is a bit of a problem. Other than establishing that both are unstable and using each other for meaning, the film doesnu0026#39;t do that much for all the time it takes up. The second half isnu0026#39;t that much better as Eddie comes out as a sort of watered down Rainman and disrupts Maureenu0026#39;s new relationship with Joey. The script then asks us to swallow that she still loves Eddie to the point where the mere news that he is released sees her flush the last ten years down the toilet.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI can sort of understand what the script was trying to do but it didnu0026#39;t manage to produce anything interest in the aggressive relationships that it paints in the gutter. The characters are where the main failing is. Maureenu0026#39;s character is poorly defined and Wright-Penn doesnu0026#39;t appear to understand what motivates her character and thus turns in a really mixed performance that pushes emotional buttons in each scene but is never consistent. Eddie is OK in the first half of the film as he just seems like a drunk unstable loser but in the second half he is unconvincingly soft. Likewise Penn is strong in the first half but he is unconvincing in the second. Their performances arenu0026#39;t helped by a weird mix of tones – at times a dark love story, at other times a cringingly awful u0026quot;comedyu0026quot; complete with u0026quot;jauntyu0026quot; music being played over a fight on the front lawn or that horrible scene at Joeyu0026#39;s bar. Travolta is a bit better and Stanton is a reasonably nice addition in a small role.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOverall this is a shocking mess of a film that spirals downhill from the mid-point onwards. The first half shows potential but doesnu0026#39;t manage to pull off the formative stages of the central relationship and thus fails to set up the second half. However the second half isnu0026#39;t helped by poor development and a terrible mishmash of u0026quot;comicu0026quot; moments that simply feel crass and out of place – I suspect even if the first half had been a stormer, this second half would have been poor enough to drag it all under. Even the acting talent seems all at sea and unsure of where they stand or who they are. A load of rubbish with little or no value.”


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