9 August 2001 | xokatyxo
I love you like a hole in the head
I wasn't expecting much (truth be told) but was quite pleasantly surprised. As much as history equates to fiction (and from what I've heard/read this movie must be taken as a work of near-fiction.. "sources" being what they are..) this story still made for a pretty good motion picture. Courtney Love is a very good actress, and not many parts is she better suited to than that of Joan Burroughs. I liked her performance. Keifer Sutherland also made a pretty convincing Bill. The guy that played Lucien Carr (Norman Reedus?) was also impressive.
As "interpretive" as the story was I didn't resent it as much as I thought I might. I imagine William Burroughs, were he still in the land of the living, might have had a few issues with this film but hey, movies always without fail in-one-way-or-another romanticize the truth (truth, truth.. mmmm.. ponder it) and the movie DID do that.. but not as grotesquely as it could've and for that, if nothing else, I liked it. Well-observed (in a secondary, nobody-here-was-actually-there, speculative kind of way) the story still flowed (aided by the, in my opinion, very good performances.) Keifer made William Burroughs seem to have emotions, and strong ones at that, which was interesting.. as you never really picture him like that. (Going by the tone of his spoken-word recordings maybe? the dour face? the slightly contemptible countenance? I don't know.. you just never think of him as the howl-at-the-moon type.. I think Keifer's attempt at humanizing him was quite admirable really.)
The script wasn't bad (could've been MUCH worse.. riddled with beatnik cliches..) there were no real cringe-worthy moments (no-one said anything to the effect of "are you hip to all that jazz" etc etc.. which was a relief.) I liked the movie overall. It's no major statement, and you'd do infinitely better to read some of the great biographies out there if you want an overview of the tale and the beats in general, but the movie is a harmless, and quite enjoyable, footnote.
I liked the quotes at the end (their attempt at a summery i suppose..) especially the gorgeous quote from Lucien Carr. Oh yes and Ron Livingston was also in fine form as poor old lovelorn Allen Ginsberg.