Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Journey To The End Of The Night

Brendan Fraser recently starred in a movie titled Journey to the Center of the Earth which was based on a Jules Vernes novel (resulting in a 1959 screenplay). In contrast, Journey to the End of the Night was written by a novice writer (Eric Eason) with very little screen writing under his belt. Brendan Fraser has always struck me as a rather Disney sort of actor. I was caught somewhat off-guard by the subject matter of this film based on many of Fraser’s past endeavors. Especially considering that this film was produced by Fraser. It was interesting watching Fraser in this type of movie, but also somewhat disconcerting.

Journey to the End of the Night tells the story of a father and son in Sao Palo, Brazil. The father (Sinatra, played by Scott Glenn) owns a brothel where he raises his son Paul (Brendan Fraser) in the finest of pimping traditions. Paul is a divisive calculating fellow who intends to steal a large sum of money from his father so he can take his girl away from the squalor of their life in Brazil. As the movie progresses, we learn that Paul’s girl is Sinatra’s wife…an interesting factor that complicates matters. The individual who is supposed to complete a major financial transaction for the father dies while having sex with a she-male prostitute, leaving them without a go-between to close the deal. A dishwasher in the brothel (Wemba Eko…played by Mos Def) happens to be Nigerian and speaks the language necessary for business to resume. Wemba encounters difficulties in completing his task and a ripple effect changes the dynamics between Paul and Sinatra leading to the crossing of paths of many characters introduced throughout the script. The ending is a bit predictable, but not entirely formulaic.

The writing for this screenplay is a mixed bag. We are introduced to a variety of characters, many of whom have interesting quirks that provide dimension to the characters. The dialogue is gritty and believable, although the delivery is sometimes a bit forced. The plot is thin with a few minor sub-plots thrown in that make the movie more interesting. The writing was not a complete wash, but the entire premise of the story seemed a bit weak. The concept was not as thought provoking as it could have been given this cast of characters and the direction of the film could have provided different avenues that I would have liked to seen explored. In the end, I thought that the screenplay was okay, delivering good characters in a structured plot that required a bit of willful suspension of disbelief.

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1 comment:

CaptainD said...

I really don't know what happened to Brendan Fraser, he was such a promising young actor... I just couldn't bring myself to watch Journey to the Centre of the Earth, it looked terrible!! Never heard of this one... but I don't think I'll go out of my way to see it!