Waking the Dead

Hollywood tends to spoon-feed easy-to-digest stories to audiences so people can leave the multiplexes humming “happy” songs. Waking the Dead is a thinking person’s love story that leaves viewers with a nasty scar that will not heal until long after they’ve left the theater. Actor-turned-director Keith Gordon (Mother Night) injects doses of realism into a story that crawls along at the pace of a roast cooking on a Sunday afternoon. Gordon’s examination of the tension between two young lovers, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly, Dark City) and Fielding (Billy Crudup, The Hi-Lo Country), is set up and executed with the measured precision of a championship chess match. Fielding’s destiny to become a congressman has been planned since birth. Sarah is an idealistic free spirit whose ambitions are to “heal the world.” The couple clash in every aspect but lovemaking (the sex scenes are tastefully erotic). The plot gets untangled with a calculated set of flashbacks that offer the film’s lone frantic moments. But the film shifts time periods (between 1972 and 1982) so quickly that key sequences go by in the blink of an eye. If one can follow along, Waking the Dead is a refreshing romantic tale, even though it revolves around disillusionment, disappointment, and death. (R) Rating: 7

Categories: Movies