A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated R for language, some violence and a disturbing image
Starring:Rhys Ifans, Daniel Craig, Samantha Morton
Directed By:Roger Mitchell
My creepy friend Dave always used to try to convert me to Christianity. Every time he saw me he would tell me something new about the boundless abilities of God’s great love, and how I am lonely lost and scared with out God’s merciful hand. I always kind of ignored Dave’s preaching. You see there was some truth in what Dave was telling me, but I didn’t want to hear it. Perhaps he was right, but the problem was the way he approached me with it. He literally attacked me with preaching each and every time I met up with him, and instead of teaching me a thing or two he actually drove me in the opposite direction. I felt as though I was being thrown to the wolves, I was attacked at all sides. Dave was trying his best to carryout what he thought was in my best interest. The problem was he would belittle the ways I thought, and never really gave me a chance to speak my mind. He never took a step back and asked himself, “Gee, am I coming off as a friend trying to help a friend or as a flippin’ psychopath?”
The film Enduring Love reminds me a lot of my experiences with Dave. Now if you happen to be reading this Dave, I am not saying you are crazy I am just saying you weren’t very tactful with your approach. In Enduring Love, 3 men wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time. A hot air balloon crashes to the ground nearby and both tried to pull it down. During their attempts to pull it down one of the men is tragically killed. Life carries on for our two main characters and each of them is trying to cope, and not really succeeding. One of the characters, Joe, begins to believe that Jed, one of the other men is stalking him. Instead Jed is only trying to show Joe that the tragedy that they shared brought them together. But Jed’s ways of showing Joe this are a little unorthodox and Joe begins to mentally unravel.
Enduring Love is a 2-Hour long character study of two separate people. The first, Joe, a character who is a man of science and not a man looking for spiritual meaning. Joe believes that Love is a science, and that life is a series of coincidences. The other character Jed believes that Love reigns all and that everyone is connected because a heavenly body chose them to be together. Having two totally different opinions, the two can’t get along at all. But the problem is Jed wants to change Joe, he wants Joe forever as his friend and will do whatever it takes to get him.
Acting in this film is great. Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Replacements, Danny Deckchair) plays the role of the emotional psycho extremely well. He comes off really creepy yet interesting and does an overall great job right down to the small gestures and movements he makes. Daniel Craig stars as Joe, who also does an outstanding Job. Craig is a great actor, but he is a great actor that will never see a leading role in a big budget film. A few years back I remember seeing him in Road To Perdition with Tom Hanks and being very impressed, so it doesn’t surprise me that the man has impressed me again. Also starring in the flick is Academy Award Nominee Samantha Morton, and while her role is limited she does a great job.
Where Enduring Love both fails and succeeds the most is when it comes to the plot. The film is based off of a critically acclaimed book and although it does a decent job adapting the story, the film feels as though it drags for its short 100-minute runtime. As I was watching there were various points where I was losing interest in the characters and just wanted the story to end. Yet at the same time, the story was intriguing at spots and would spark my interest again. All in all, the plot was a roller coaster of moments that were very well executed and others that were poorly executed. I suppose that when you look at it from a broader perspective the director does a fairly good job with the film. After all portraying the emotional unraveling of two people and still keeping the audience interested is a lofty undertaking. But then again, Director Roger Mitchell has done a story similar to this before. He directed Changing Lanes, the Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson vehicle back in 2002, which also dealt with two people coming together after a tragic coincidence. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Changing Lanes, I actually thought the plot was far better executed.
In the end, Enduring Love is pretty hit or miss. I found some enjoyment because of some solid acting by some fine actors that don’t have Hollywood clout. I also found a film that did a decent job of giving us a 100-minute character study that didn’t bore me to death. The problem with it was that it didn’t really make me want to jump up and cheer for it either. If you want to watch a character unravel before your eyes on film, go rent a classic like Dog Day Afternoon, or even pick up a copy of Roger Mitchell’s Changing Lanes. Both of them will prove to be a better flick. But if you are looking for something to pass the time and want to take a chance on a small film, pick up Enduring Love on a rental shelf someday. You could do far worse.