johnlink ranks DOLAN’S CADILLAC (2009)

Based on one of my personal favorite short stories of Stephen King, DOLAN’S CADILLAC is a movie I’ve long heard might get made. I remember hearing Kevin Bacon’s name attached at one point, and Stallone’s name attached at another. Ultimately, it was made with Wes Bentley in the lead, and Christian Slater as the titular heavy. This movie came across FearNet, I assume, for its King connection only, as it is certainly not a horror film.

I watched DOLAN’S CADILLAC (2009) on 10.18.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

This is a revenge story in which Robinson (Bentley) seeks payback for his wife, who is offed by a mobster named Dolan (Slater). Robinson is a gentle middle school teacher by nature, so being violent is a learned trait for him, and not one he finds naturally. His struggle in the film is not only to get back at Dolan, but to also build the necessary mental and physical fortitude required to finish the job.

Much of the film is concentrated on making sure we know just how bad Dolan is. He runs illegal immigrant women in a sex trade, and he kills people in cold blood because he can. There is no real nuance in the writing, even if Slater does his best with what he’s got.

Robinson is more fluidly written, as he fails more than he succeeds. Sometimes his failures are a result of Deus ex machina, but his reaction to these failures are where we see the evolution of his character. One scene in which Bentley gets angry over the phone is laughably bad acting, but I will put that more on the Director since he failed to get a better take. Bentley’s performance is otherwise useful, and he succeeds especially in the film’s last act.

The production value on this is fairly good for a film which was destined to not have a theatrical release. Some of the Vegas shots are nicely placed, including the one pictured above. A confrontation in a restroom has Dolan swinging that giant gun between his legs like he’s making up for something. The shot of this from behind is, perhaps, too obvious, but it successful in getting a laugh.

I usually don’t get into book versus movie because I find that counter-productive in talking film.  But with King’s story being a favorite of mine, I should point out that my enjoyment of the film was certainly tied into the appreciation of the source. I enjoyed this unabashedly, even as I realize its limited filmic value. The story starts later chronologically and works with less structure as it explores both present and past story lines. The film works much more chronologically, and the big even (the film’s third act) is somewhat short-changed because of it. This film does not have the ambition of, say, BURIED. It is much more satisfied to fall into a traditional story structure. That is fine for what it is, but some potential is certainly left on the table as a result.

In the end, I liked this because I knew the source. I would be very curious to hear what others have to say about it. I’m absolutely certain that my knowledge of the story fills in some logic gaps of the film.





~ by johnlink00 on October 18, 2012.

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