Sundance 2008: The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh
On Line: I am surrounded by dudes with beards typing into their iPhones and Blackberries. I am one of them. As a huge Michael Chabon fan, my hopes are high. As a huge Michael Chabon fan who hasn’t cracked the novel since its 1989 release, though, I have no idea what I’m in for. I’m hoping for a “Wonder Boys” prequel.
In The Theater: Ten minutes in and I’m crystal clear on the plot. It’s a coming-of-age story about a petty gangster’s son stuck in a bizarre love triangle. Witty diner banter, slow-motion sex scenes, and car chases ensue. Sienna Miller is so gorgeous, and so likeable, I immediately forget all about her and what’s-his-name. Peter Sarsgaard is dashing too, but he’s no Mark the troubled “Garden State” sidekick here; his Cleveland Arning is darker. Newcomer Jon Foster is capable enough, but seems stunned most of the time.
The Verdict: I want to like “Mysteries,” really I do. It’s beautifully shot, and aspires to a real cinematic lyricism. But the comedy is far between, the sex is cliche and kind of embarrassing, the drama is heavy-handed, and Rawson Marshall Thurber’s (do you really need all three names, dude?) direction is ham fisted. Oh well, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” is due in ’09.