A Review by Jason L. King
Starring: Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly
Directed By: Keith Gordon
Rated: Rated R for language and sexuality
Movie Released: 2000
Waking the dead is about a blue collar aspiring politician who falls in love with a human rights activist in the 70’s. 10 years after her tragic death, he begins to see her again and begins to question his own sanity only days before his ongoing senate race. The film stars Jennifer Connelly and Billy Crudup and came out in 2000 and went under the radar.
The film itself is extremely well acted, and it flowed quite nicely from scene to scene in many cases. Running just under 2 hours the film crafts a intriguing little tale and keeps you wondering right along with Billy Crudup’s character. Is he really losing it? Is he seeing a ghost, or this girl from the past, long assumed dead suddenly back in his life?
What I really liked about this film is the acting. I enjoyed the performance by Connelly and Crudup a great deal. Crudup does a wonderful job of pushng the envelope and you are drawn into the film. You experience the same emotions of sadness, grief and confusion with him because of the powerful emotion he brings to his character. Crudup outshines Connelly in every way, although Connelly puts up a strong fight in the flashback sequences she is featured in.
While I enjoyed the film, there were a few things that just didn’t fit together right for me. Perhaps the older and crankier I get, I want things tied up in a nice neat bow. I didn’t get that in the film. I felt like it just kind of ended unresolved. I also had a hard time believing that Connelly and Crudup’s characters would have fallen in love at all in the first place. They seemed to be polar opposites, and they shared opposite viewpoints on most things. I found it funny, that Crudup is reminiscing the death of his beloved girl, and many of the things he remembered always ended in a fight, or one or the other being beaten down for the opinions by their friends, family and co-workers. Then again, they say opposites attract. Maybe that was what they were going for.
There were scenes in the film that were choppy jump cuts during dialogue, and while some may think they were artistic, I found them very distracting from the film. Director Keith Gordon felt the need to do this on at least 2 or 3 seperate occasions and it rarely worked. I kept thinking my computer was skipping and buffering the video at first and then realized that it was a stylistic thing. (I will however stand corrected if someone tells me differently).
All in all, this is a movie that ends leaving you feel empty inside. The acting is good, and the story is intriguing, but I felt the ending left me feeling alone, pessimistic and well just not a happy camper. Waking the Dead is a good film, it is just a slow moving film. It’s not exactly the film for everyone.
For those of you looking for those free rentals, you can find it free on hulu.com so you could see this for free on your next rental night!