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quietearth [Celluloid 03.05.09] movie review drama

Year: 1998
Release date: Unknown
Directors: Erick Ifergan
Writers: Erick Ifergan
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Take away the NY and we get one of the most quoted bible passages, John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (NIV) I am by no means a religious scholar, so with what little I do know I'll attempt to share with you some of the metaphor, ecclesiastic fervor, slo-mo madness and profound acting contained in this indie gem.

At first I thought the story was going to be a parable about the three temptations of Christ, transposed with Johny and the female protagonist Sally, but it's not. It's much larger, and more obfuscated in scope and while trying to narrow it to some specific analysis, another portion of the story pops loose causing something which was a common thread throughout the entire film: schism. It would be an egregious disservice if we oversimplified and said this schism was "good vs. evil" when it's more along the lines of "doing God's will vs. the temptations and overwhelming nature of the world". And there's the problem, with a clearly defined beginning point the film refuses to be pinned down, but there's more to explain.

I could go into other possible theories tying John 3:16 to the story, but I don't want to ruin it, so I'm going to stick with what can be seen in the trailer. Like an angel, Johnny soars, arms outstretched above wordly wants and sin. He is a street preacher, and while he should be above all of this, Sally enters his world bringing temptation. We're not sure what they do as the phantasms of lust and madness intertwine but at one point Johnny is encased in a bubble, seemingly a metaphor for his body being off limits. From one vision to the next, it looks as if Johnny has staved off the provocation, but throughout the film we get documentary style conjecture from many people regarding Johnny's nature and piety. As I said, this injecture is conjecture, so we don't know if what they say is true or not.

With the fundamentals of the story explained (and trust me, not spoiled) we can move on to a more in-depth look at the interiors of the film. Only two pros could pull off a script this complex and emotive, and Vincent Gallo performs in his usual brilliant sundry nature, alternately looking to heaven, pleading and almost crazy, and sacrosanct as he blesses those who walk by. Sally, played by Nina Brosch, is an enigma, silent, but wanton. Her delivery of the crazed wandering woman is nothing short of perfect.

We can't leave out the cinematography, done by Gwynn Arthur Irwin. Emotionally wrought, statuesque shots of both our main characters would drop out of focus to metaphor. Then there was what I call slo-mo madness, the capture of the cacophony and sin of the world at such a slow rate it would make us all looked crazed under this lens. And besides the photography was the script, labyrinthine in it's setup it will keep you guessing.

How I love this film.

So that's about the gist of it, or at least what I can capture, as I share the most brilliant thing I've seen in quite a while, and with Gallo's foray into major filmmaking now, specifically that of Coppola's Tetro, I think this will be the last true Gallo film made as he'll probably sell out. Furthermore, I have no idea why this doesn't have distribution. This is a must see.

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agentorange (13 years ago) Reply

Great review. This is one in a million. A true hidden gem from the 90s indie movement. Too bad it's basically impossible to find.


Barry Hogan (13 years ago) Reply

Vincent Gallo is the most original and most interesting actor in the USA today. His best performances are well up there with the best performances of all time. His free spirit, freethinking manor and pure independence should be celebrated. Instead Gallo is heavily criticized, insulted, hated and shut out and even more so by the more underground, liberal and Artist friendly press. As well, Blog posters love to hate him. Gallo’s website humor, which is so obviously meant to be thought provoking, conceptual and funny, also gets bashed and reacted to without any insight. I am sorry for Gallo that in his lifetime he may never be held in high regard and most likely will pass away uncelebrated. In time though young people of the future will find Gallo and hold him up high as a standard of excellence. A future hero he will be. It is just so sad and so strange that while he exists those who should admire him do not.


ziggi (13 years ago) Reply

i want to see this!!!!!!!!!


Zachary (12 years ago) Reply

I really want to see this film as well. There's a nine minute trailer on youtube and it's great. I hope this film finds distribution at some point because as a Gallo fan I truly want to see it. This review was perfect and made me even more excited. BTW, I also heard somewhere that Gallo's band has screened this film before when they tour. Don't know if that's true or not. Anyway, great review and hope to see this film soon.


ziggi (12 years ago) Reply

i still wanna see this!!!!!!


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

vincent gallo isn't gonna sell out. sure he does jobs, on other folks' projects. to make himself some money.

but at the same time, he'll always do his own work. which he can control. here his motivations are purely personal, and have nothing to do with financial gain.


baldboy (11 years ago) Reply

Why is this film unavailable? Why are the truly great films of recent generations not appreciated? I first encountered Vincent Gallo in Arizona Dream which has not been released in the U.S. on DVD. Owning the film on VHS is not very helpful if you no longer have a VCR incorporated in your system. Also, the quality of sound and appearance are compromised.

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