Choose Me

This year has produced some weird movies by this point. “Repo Man“, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai“, “Electric Dreams” are all examples of the odd sensibilities that could come up in the year. Cultural touchstones like “Ghostbusters” or “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” seem to litter the year as well. Small, independent films show up to play on the field as well. Taking a cue from the off beat and independent minded directors like John Sayles and Alex Cox, former Robert Altman protege Alan Rudolph supplies an odd little love story in the form of a comedy/drama with an interesting cast, sexual politics, and enough ambiguity to satisfy cineastes of the intellectual variety.

choose_me_xlg“Choose Me” starts off like a music video. There is a sensual Teddy Pendergrass vocal of a Luther Vandross penned song. A bright neon sign lights a dark skid row street, and couples engaged in romance filter out of bar. As they move into the street, partners switch and the ladies of the evening sway in rhythm with the dance moves of a gentleman who takes their hand. Most of the customers are black, but a well dressed white woman strolls comfortably though the doors of “Eve’s Bar”.  This film is an exercise in style, but only partially is it visual style that it is pushing. The tone is one of overwhelming loneliness and longing. The characters are interesting but maybe a little too off for us to find believable. There is some violence and sexuality, but none of it is explicit and most of the really tough moments involve the things the characters say about themselves.

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When people hear the name of Clint Eastwood, there are usually two images that pop into their heads. He is the stoic police detective with a big gun, pursuing justice in whatever form, or he is an avenging cowboy, sometimes a crook sometimes a hero but always dangerous. Even after directing films well out of both genres and not appearing in one for a dozen years, those images will remain. Between 1971 and 1988 he played Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan five times. During that period he played a cop in three other movies including a lampoon of himself in “City Heat”. As Detective Wes Block in the movie “Tightrope” Eastwood goes in a very different direction than all the other cops he has played.

posterBlock is investigating a series of homicides that are connected to the underground sex trade in the New Orleans area. This is a problem for him because after his wife left him, Block has turned to that world for sexual release and some power over women, the same characteristics that seem to be driving the killer. He has to face his own demons and try to understand the nature of a man who humiliates women in an attempt to stop him.

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