Movie Review: Lightning Over Water

Dennis suggests Lightning Over Water (in Feature Drama).  Director Wim Wenders was having a German migraine over studio interference with his first American film Hammett (which is out of print and Videoport’s copy disintergrated a decade ago, so don’t ask; it wasn’t very good anyway), so he took a sabbatical to the New York deathbed of his cinematic idol, director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, Johnny Guitar, In a Lonely Place, They Live By Night*) to make a completely indulgent, essentially (and actually) unreleasable semi-documentary about Ray’s life, career, and death.  So why should you watch it?  Well, Ray was one of the quintessential movie iconoclasts whose cantankerous integrity torpedoed his career for the last three decades of his life, and, in Lightning Over Water, you get to hear his thoughts on that (spoiler alert: he’s not pleased), and see scenes from his never completed but forever-worked-on opus We Can’t Go Home Again.  Plus, the film, while admittedly a rather insular experience, is actually pretty touching, with Wenders engaging in refreshingly clear-eyed talk about death and film with his frail yet irrepressible hero.  And the end, after Ray has died and been cremated and Wenders and other Ray-o-philes sit drinking and talking about the departed director on a Chinese junk sailing out of New York harbor is, well, I wouldn’t mind if my friends arranged that kind of sendoff for me**…

*All available at Videoport, natch’.
**actually, I was just being poetic- everyone knows I want my ashes scattered secretly on the warning track at Fenway Park during a game.  But the Chinese junk thing is still pretty cool.

Published in: on July 3, 2009 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  

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