Julian Po | Chicago Reader

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I have a weakness for movies described as “pretentious,” at least when they appeal to my imagination, but this terminally pretentious first feature by writer-director Alan Wade seems too far removed from reality to carry any sort of allure. I haven't read the short story it's adapted from, Branimir Scepanovic's “La mort de Monsieur Golouga,” but the French title and eastern European author's name suggest an attempt on Wade's part to adapt European material to an American context, which is where I suspect some of the problems begin. The title hero (Christian Slater), a bookkeeper on holiday, wanders into a remote small town that isn't accustomed to visitors and arouses everyone's suspicions; when questioned he blurts out that he's been contemplating suicide, and he's regarded thereafter as a mythic, messiahlike figure. If this screenwriter's notion of a town—its inhabitants, its buildings, its faded signs (“Supersweet Feeds” says one of them)—bore any resemblance to any real town on earth, the symbolic hardware might be a little more palatable. With Robin Tunney, Michael Parks, Harve Presnell, and LaTanya Richardson.

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