14 January 2005 | drbrandl
Slow, but ultimately a beautiful story well done
Still blaming himself for the deaths of his sister and mother decades ago, lieutenant Walter Harwig (Flanery) of the NYC harbor unit, is encased in a life of sadness. While on duty investigating a plane crash, Harwig breaks down after discovering a dead body of a woman, and as a result is dismissed from duty. Now having lost the only thing with meaning in his life and being consumed by deep, abiding depression, Harwig will by fate meet two other individuals (Williams and Kanakaredes) whose lives are also rooted with misfortune. Together they will learn that the true meaning of life lies not in tragedy but in celebration.
The premise is real and story is believable and moving. There was a quote that stuck with me after the film was over. It was about living a life of celebration because it's the balance of living a life of tragedy on the same spectrum. Most of the themes in the movie revolve around similar issues, including reincarnation. Though, at times the story is slow and the conflict is confusing. I wasn't sure if this was a story about love or self-forgiveness until well into the second act. However, the cast is exceptional. Portraying the antagonist and protagonist, Sean Patrick Flanery's (Powder) performance was true, honest, engaging and his best work to date. Both Melina Kanakareses (CSI: NY) and JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist) supported Flannery and excelled the dramatic themes.
Aesthetics. Well done. Portrayed mostly hand-held, 'documentary style', its photography and production design are up to par with most of today's Hollywood pictures. The film was shot on 35mm with sharp color contrasts and at locations across New York City and Coney Island. The musical score is original and adds drama to the film without distracting the viewer from the story.
Review by, Darren R. Brandl