6 June 2002 | otis von zipper
May not work on all levels, but it sure is fun
Robin Tunney plays Zoe, a woman who finds herself trapped in her own home through the home arrest program after being falsely accused as a cop-killer. Tim Blake Nelson plays the home arrest worker who often visits to check on the equipment. The new film by Finn Taylor works like a romantic comedy, but also contains elements of a thriller. Cherish could easily have become buried in pretense or a messy mixture of genres, but it succeeds though, primarily by focusing on the complex character created by Tunney.
Most of the film takes place inside the loft apartment Zoe has been confined to. Gradually, she finds ways to expand her circle of territory, which mirrors her personal growth. The irony is that when she was free Zoe never connected with anyone, but when under arrest she is able to reach out and develop friendships. Tunney does a great job of playing an intelligent, but obviously flawed character. Tim Blake Nelson has a much smaller role, but he does a lot with it. When he becomes obsessed with Zoe he shows it in small ways, staring at a photo, buying her a radio. It's the kind of behavior I think we've all experienced when someone captures our attention. Other cast members that pop up in small but memorable roles include Jason Priestley (rather unrecognizable as a smarmy co-worker), Liz Phair, Nora Dunn and Brad Hunt as a stalker. But special mention should be made of Ricardo Gil, an amateur actor (he regularly works as a photographer) who plays Zoe's neighbor, a gay Jewish short person. Seems a bit extreme when writing it, but the nice thing is that Gil plays the part well never delving into pathos or caricature. The soundtrack is fun with several cheesy pop songs from the 70's and 80's, which often are played for comedic effect like when our stalker dances around to Hall and Oates's `Private Eyes'. What Taylor is aiming for though, is showing us people who want to use pop songs as a means of expression. It's a great twist to the usual method of just inserting an appropriate tune.