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September 02

a film review by Alex Grant
...this indigestible stew

Cast (in credits order)
Benjamin Bratt .... Detective
Katie Holmes
Charlie Hunnam
Zooey Deschanel
Melanie Lynskey
.Mousy Julie Gabrielle
Union Gabriel Mann
Fred Ward
Will McCormack

Directed by Stephen Gaghan
Writing credits Stephen Gaghan
Produced by Lynda Obst (producer)
Edward Zwick (producer)

Purely in terms of crass and inapposite dialogue there are more genuine "howlers" in the godawful script penned by TRAFFIC scenarist Stephen Gaghan for his directorial debut thriller ABANDON than there are howler monkeys resident in the Amazon Delta . And those chattering chittering South American primates never fail to put one’s nerves right on edge ABANDON is no less of a success in irritating the hell out of the viewer. It defies belief that the unfortunate cast and crew attached to this miserable non-event did not simply down tools and walk away from the set and location and slit their wrists. They must have needed the money and held their noses and averted their gazes during the shoot. Better to have gone out and shot themselves in the foot.

The story:
A gaggle of back-stabbing college geeks are troubled by the sudden disappearance of their resident self-appointed genius Embry, who vanished off the face of the earth two years back – I’d say "Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish"., Embry’s delusions of grandeur being entirely off-putting. His self-declared brilliance is more off-putting than rampant leprosy.

This musical maestro’s main squeeze, Katie (Katie Holmes) a petulant, pouting burn-out with all the charm of a cornered alley-cat is tracked assiduously by a recovering substance-abuser cop called Wade (Benjamin Bratt), assigned to solve this ‘cold case’ by Missing Persons.

Did nobody notice that what was missing was wit, charm, suspense, plausibility and all evidence of movie-making knowhow?

For what seemed to me like KP, two weeks of peeling potatoes in The Brig, ABANDON lazily circles the drain like greasy, fetid, filthy dishwater – swill that even the sewer pipes are reluctant to swallow!
Abandon all hope ye who enter a theatre exhibiting this indigestible stew of clod-hopping clichés gone bozo.

© Alex Grant October 2002-.

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