Crusoe | Chicago Reader

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This second feature—after The Escape Artist—of Black Stallion cinematographer Caleb Deschanel stars Aidan Quinn as an early-19th-century American slave trader who becomes shipwrecked and finds himself alone on a desert island with only a dog for company. The first part of the story is a sort of reductive version of Robinson Crusoe, made somewhat contrived by the arch conceit (and coincidence) of the hero being named Crusoe; then a group of natives turn up in a boat, Crusoe saves one of them (Ade Sapara) from a sacrificial death, and most of the remainder of the plot becomes a humanistic allegory a la The Defiant Ones about interracial understanding. The settings are beautiful, but this is pretty simpleminded stuff, and the fact that dialogue is kept to a minimum doesn't hold back the banality very much.

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