"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue

Felicia's Journey

06 Apr 2002

"What a wonderful we could live in"

Bob Hoskins in the kitchen.
Photo from the official web site

The new film by Atom Egoyan.

I've been trying to come up with something worth say about the film for the past three weeks, but I'll be jiggered if I know what to tell you.

Have you seen any of Egoyan's other films? "The Sweet Hereafter?" "Exotica?" "Calendar?". No. No one saw "Calendar," I'm afraid, which is a pity. It's fabulous -- go just to see what you can do with an idea, a camcorder, and some actors. It reminds me of something I read from British filmmaker Mike Leigh: he said that his 1997 film "Career Girls" was "consigned to history" (meaning that no one saw it.) Bollocks. I saw it and thought it was one of the best films I'd seen that year, and if no one else saw it, then it's strictly their loss. Again, a masterful display of what you can do with ideas and good actors. I emphasis those qualities in that order only because I find they're often missing from so many movies I screen these days. Usually it's a dearth of ideas that kills a movie for me. The film makers seem to be saying that if they can't come up with something original to say, they'll just quote someone else. Surely life is too short for that kind of crap. (Now, I realize I'm speaking in gross generalities here. Check out my review of "Supernova" for specific pointed examples of how a non-idea can go bad.)

At least "Felicia's Journey" is nothing like that. The acting is sound, and the story is intriguing. There's not a thing technically wrong with the storytelling. And yet... I was hoping for something less conventional from the Ego-man, and I feel really small saying that because I think Egoyan's other films are among the best I've ever seen, and who am I to judge others at a craft to which I can only pretend?

And yet, here we are. Perhaps my expectations of him have been creeping up over his career. I try to keep a lid on that kind of thing, but it's inevitable for someone whose work you admire. A film should be judged on its own merits, not as a work in an oeuvre. And we should all do the right thing, and tell the truth, and not cheat on our taxes.

Well, there you go.

Related Sites

Official web site
Felicia's Journey on IMDB