I just watched a flick that was plenty lofty, full of all sorts of overwrought symbolism, self-importance, and pretention. Strangely enough, it's called Levity
. I guess the filmmaker thought that would be a funny title, I dunno.
Billy Bob Thornton plays a man just released from prison after spending 20 years there for murdering someone in a convenience store robbery while a teenager. The movie details his quest for redemption as he, through circumstances that can only be called divine intervention, comes to work at a local youth center ran by an eccentric preacher played by Morgan Freeman. (The youth center is located across the street from a rave club. Freeman lets the kids park their cars there, but only if they agree to pay him by listening to 15 minutes worth of preaching.) Billy Bob soon runs across a troubled youth played by Kirsten Dunst, who he convinces to change her ways, and also a group of ghetto kids who he teaches in a court-ordered afterschool program. Billy Bob also finds time to strike up a relationship with the sister, Holly Hunter, of the kid he murdered way back when. Can you predict what will happen? Try. It ain't hard.
As bad as this all sounds, I did sorta like the movie. I'm not against a little uplift in a flick and I found all of these characters so likeable and so real. Predictable as they all are, at least they travel about their predetermined routes in a lifelike way. And the acting by all, particularly Hunter and Freeman, is pretty superb. (But when have Hunter and Freeman ever not been?) Eh, see it you want to. Like Life as a House
or Grand Canyon
, it's morally simplistic, heavy-handed, and goes above-and-beyond sentimental. If you're not in the mood, you'll probably hate it. Me, I enjoyed it.
Film is shot by Roger Deakins, by the way. He's as good as he's ever been.