Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Smoke (1995)

Where there's smoke... there's laughter!

Smoke is a great off beat film that took me by surprise. I just happened to catch it on cable one day. For those of you that live in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, you'll love seeing that part of town on film including the "J" train as it slowly creeps up the track towards the Williamsburgh Bridge and BedStuy off in the hazy distance and the old Williamsburgh Bank in the foreground. It's a long lazy shot and I find myself sometimes watching that scene over and over again. It's a beautiful shot of that part of Brooklyn. Close enough to hear the train but far enough to keep the other city noises in the background. Utterly beautiful!

This film is full of quirky characters. Auggie (Harvey Keitel) is probably the most off beat and quirky of them all. Stockard Channing gives a stunning performance as Auggie's ex girlfriend and Ashley Judd is brilliant, even though she only has one scene, as their drug addicted, poor and bitter daughter. The film also stars William Hurt (Altered States), Harold Perrineau Jr, (Romeo&Juliet) and Forest Whitaker (Panic Room).

The most unexpected moment in Smoke is Auggie's Christmas story. I don't want to give too much away but it's sad, touching and funny all at the same time. Don't look for special effects, explosions, car chases or gun fights here. There are none. Just good storytelling.

Also interesting are the bonus attractions on the dvd. Seeing the director (Wayne Wang) direct another director (Forest Whitaker) and watching Whitaker accept and discuss Wang's directions were especially captivating. By M. Fields

Torrent : here
Subs : English and Dutch included.

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