Directed by Matt Reeves
Starring: David Schwimmer (Tom Thompson), Gwyneth Paltrow (Julie DeMarco), Barbara Hershey (Ruth Abernathy), Michael Rapaport (Brad), Toni Collette (Cynthia)
A Miramax Release
Running Time : 1hr 30mins
Rating : ***1/2 out of *****
I expected this to be just another movie trying to bank on the success of the enormously popular TV sitcom FRIENDS. While Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry (both stars of FRIENDS) had their own film break last year, starring in one-of-those-hollywood-comedies, they were both flops. THE PALLBEARER may not be box-office hit material, but it is a great film intro for David Schwimmer (Ross in `FRIENDS'). Offbeat and often lightly "dark" at times, THE PALLBEARER is a charming piece revolving around a short time span in the lives of a few normal people.
Amidst the soft credits, we are introduced to Tom Thompson (Schwimmer), an out of work fresh architect graduate. Tom is a simpleton, goes about his days going for interviews and hanging out with his two best friends (whose names I have forgotten!!), one happily married the other engaged. The motivational factor for the film surfaces when Tom receives a call from a Ruth Abernathy (Hershey), requesting his to become the pallbearer for his son's funeral. The problem is, Tom does not recall any friend called Abernathy and being the kind person that he is, he accepts, thinking that it may be one of his old friends which he has forgotten.
The real problem starts when he attends a party where he meets up Julie DeMarco (Paltrow), a girl whom he was together in a band back in college and whom he had a really major crush on. When he realises that his attempts in winning her are futile, he becomes horribly depressed and lost, driving him into a sexual relationship with Ruth -- yes, the mother of his supposed "best friend" -- Cutting the long story short, things get much worse from here, but as in most Hollywood films, they ultimately end in bright resolution.
What really sets THE PALLBEARER apart from its genre-counterparts is the way it was captured on film. Slow camera movements, dreamy lighting and inner city images provide the perfect mood and at the same time, projecting the personality of its characters. Director Matt Reeves has done well in that department. The acting department was not great, but convincing enough to keep this piece moving on its way. Schwimmer did well though, in his own fumbling self as in FRIENDS. And Gywneth Paltrow, as always, is a pleasure to watch on screen, this time as the x-gen orientated Julie Demarco.
THE PALLBEARER showcases normal people in not-so-normal situations. It also tells us that bad things that people commit, as punishable as they may seem, can be easily forgiven if only we could see it from the perspectives of the doer. Watch this if you're searching for an alternative to feel-good comedies.
The Flying Inkpot Rating System:
* Wait for the TV2 broadcast.
** A little creaky, but still better than staying at home with Gotcha!
*** Pretty good, bring a friend.
**** Amazing, potent stuff.
***** Perfection. See it twice.
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