johnlink ranks THE LARAMIE PROJECT (2002)

After watching AIRPLANE! this morning, I could not have picked a more diametrically opposed night cap than THE LARAMIE PROJECT. This is something I’ve seen performed very well on stage (most notably, by North Kingstown High School and by Mt. Hope High School at two consecutive Rhode Island State Drama Festivals). I didn’t know a film version had been made, so I was excited to give it a go.

I watched THE LARAMIE PROJECT (2002) on 12.1.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

For those who do not know, this is the true story of Matthew Shepard, who was the victim of a brutal hate crime in Laramie, WY in the late 90s. A theater company went to the town to interview residents and those involved in the case, and they crafted a script based on those talks. The play was first staged in 2000, and this film was released on HBO in 2002. The play’s creator is also this film’s director, Moises Kaufman. If you don’t know the story, hunt down this film (or a production of the play).

Normally, I will link each individual actor I mention to their IMDB page. But I have a desire to go to bed tonight, so instead I will link the cast page for you to peruse. I’m sure there will be some major talent I don’t mention who are on the list.

First, if you are a fan of LOST, watch this now (as if you needed another reason). The Director is played by Richard Alpert. The morally questionable Reverend is played by Ben Linus, and a young acting hopeful, who was a student when all this happened, is played by Daniel Faraday. All three, by the way, are excellent.

We get wonderful acting in small cameos by Steve Buscemi, Christina Ricci, Laura Linney, and Clea DuVall, and many, many more. In fact, if there is one thing that I have against this film, it is that the star power sometimes belies the small town fell of it all. When Steve Buscemi is your mechanic, and Peter Fonda is your doctor, you need to remind yourself that this is a real, true story. But, on the other hand, if these stars brought people to this film (as I imagine the intention was), then so be it. But it deserves a second watching where you can absorb these great performances, and not find yourself just hunting down people you recognize.

Joshua Jackson, especially, is important. He gives the film a much needed levity. How did he not worked more between DAWSON’S CREEK and FRINGE?!?!

And there I go again. Not to drive the point home too much, but the actors overshadow me talking about the film itself…

It is shot in a pseudo-documentary style. This works very well for the tone of the film (and if there are script differences from the play, they are very minimal). There are some powerful images captured, though we can tell Kaufman is not an experienced director. There is nothing I would define as terrible, but there is no complexity in the shot composition. What you see is what you get.

But, in the end, this is an important story. See it.


FILM:6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 9; WRITING: 7 (What is this?)



~ by johnlink00 on December 1, 2010.

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