HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
Feedback
Lady is a Square, The
Zack Snyder's Justice League
Dark Rendezvous
Silk Road
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Smoke Cigarette Break
Year: 1995
Director: Wayne Wang, Paul Auster
Stars: William Hurt, Harvey Keitel, Stockard Channing, Harold Perrineau, Forest Whitaker, Giancarlo Esposito, José Zúñiga, Victor Argo, Stephen Gevedon, Jared Harris, Michelle Hurst, Erica Gimpel, Mary B. Ward, Mel Gorham, Malik Yoba, Ashley Judd
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Auggie (Harvey Keitel) is a Brooklyn tobacconist who likes to watch life pass him by, but occasionally he feels like getting involved, and occasionally he has no choice. He knows most of his regular customers to speak to, and some of them like to hang out at the shop and chat, but one, a writer called Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) who enters every day and only buys two of a specific type of cigars, is someone he'll be getting to know better over the next few days. Paul lost his wife in a shooting near the shop some years ago, which makes Auggie feel sorry for him...

And Paul, in light of the tragedy, is the sort of person who will allow life to pass him by as well, although for different reasons in a film which calmly observes the mannerisms of its characters and sees how some are more interested in engaging with the world than others, yet all will be put into the position of doing so by the time the credits roll. This was a collaboration between director Wayne Wang and author Paul Auster, who each had their own following and joined forces to create a superfiction of their talents, or that appeared to be the idea at any rate, and as it turned out if you were attuned to the rhythms of their work then you would likely respond favourably.

That's not to say there was any guarantee, for what was effortless on the page seemed to be more contrived on the screen, with the literary origins of Auster's work rather too glaringly obvious. With the film broken up into various chapters as if in a book, the sense that Auster had not quite adapted to the cinema was strong, but not so much that it became a distraction and some viewers could find that was part of the work's charm. There was a very fine cast assembled for the proceedings, with Keitel especially shining in a role which, unusually for the nineties, did not require him to shoot anybody during the course of the plot: here he was warm, slightly irascible, but understanding.

He was backed with a solid cast, each of whom portrayed their roles with a lived-in ease, even the younger members, so it was clear they could acknowledge what their writer expected of them and provide that to the needs of admittedly episodic scripting. Therefore Hurt convinced as the numb writer who is shaken out of his daze by Rashid (Harold Perrineau), a boy who was passing by in the street and saved Paul from walking into the path of a great big truck. Wanting to reciprocate by way of thanks, he offers Rashid a place to stay for a couple of nights, but doesn't realise, or perhaps refuses to, that the boy has a lot going on in his background which will prove a problem.

But that was true of all the main players in these intertwining yarns, and noting the way everyone has their experience, both good and bad, to draw on to make them the people they are today was a major theme. Mainly it was the bad which was something they had to cope with, and the good which soothed their troubled souls, that being the appeal and benefit of companionship however they try to reject it or how events conspire to push them away from one another. Stockard Channing was the other star, aside from Forest Whitaker in a medium sized capacity though no less important, and she was Ruby, Auggie's ex-wife who shows up pleading for help with their now-grown daughter. That role was filled in an unexpected masterclass of electrifying a story and stealing scenes from the veterans to boot by Ashley Judd, who only appeared for a couple of minutes but with a performance so raw that she made the biggest mark amongst the others trying to be nice to each other by and large. So Smoke was wistful, even inconclusive, but not unenjoyable. Music by Rachel Portman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2650 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: