8 December 2003 | barnabyrudge
Unusual drama with plenty of points of interest, but also its fair share of problems.
Most films starring Keanu Reeves or Cameron Diaz are a safe bet for a big Hollywood blockbuster. This one stars both, yet is a rather low-profile affair which many poeple won't have heard of. Ironically, Reeves gives one of the best performances of his career because he isn't asked to play a one-dimensional man of action. Diaz is eye-opening too, as a foul-mouthed girl trapped in a dead-end existence.
The story tells of a young, aimless ex-con named Jacks Clayton (Reeves) who returns to the uninviting Minnesota town of his birth at the request of his mother (Tuesday Weld). She wants him there for the wedding of his elder brother Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio). However, when Jacks arrives he realises straight away that there's something rather fishy about the wedding. It turns out that Sam's bride Freddy (Diaz) has no desire to get married at all (she's only doing it because a nasty local gangster has bullied her into it). Before the wedding party is even over, Jacks has had sex with Freddy in the toilets; before the week is out, the pair have eloped intending to start over in Las Vegas. Suffice to say, Sam is pretty annoyed by what young Jacks has done....
Feeling Minnesota is a gritty, occasionally funny drama which benefits from its unfamiliar setting. Within its own admittedly twisted logic, the film's odd narrative works reasonably well. However, the characters are so amoral that it becomes hard to care what happens to any of them - including the supposed hero Jacks (who would make a fitting bad guy in most other pictures). The amount of coarse language is rather jarring too. You don't need to find swearing offensive to notice it, but if coarse language does bother you then it's safe to say that you'll be offended by the quantity of it in this film. The plot twists and turns in a very unpredictable manner, and makes for an interesting - if not entirely believable - experience.