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GOING ALL THE WAY

SYNOPSIS:
Sonny Burns (Jeremy Davies) and Gunner Casselman (Ben Affleck) are two young men who've returned to Indianapolis in 1954 after serving time in the military. While different from each other in so many ways, the men have similar problems and choices to make. Sonny, a shy, reserved photographer, must deal with Alma (Jill Clayburgh), his overbearing mother who's pressuring him to become religious and to marry his high school sweetheart, Buddy Porter (Amy Locane). Gunner, the former high school jock, wants to discover and observe life, but must deal with his hip mother, Nina (Lesley Ann Warren). As the two men try to figure out what they want from life, in the short term they try to "score" with different women including their high school girlfriends and two new women, Marty Pilcher (Rachel Weisz), Gunner's new girlfriend, and her friend Gail Thayer (Rose McGowan).

"Coming-of-age films set in the mid-fifties are not a new thing, and its setting gives filmmakers plenty of cinematic ammunition with which to work. After all, it was a time of post-World War 2 idealism and Leave it to Beaver family conservatism in Eisenhower's vision of a free America. It was also a time of the rebel without a cause, the anti-hero of a changing society, the Holden Caulfield character to sit up and tell Americans the way of the world. The best-selling novel, Going all the Way, was described as The Catcher in the Rye of its day, and as there'll never be a film adaptation of that remarkable book, perhaps this study of friendship and sex in the midst of post-Korean War sensibilities, may well be the next best thing. Not really, but it's a bold attempt to present a sexually open study of the relationships. Yet, by the film's conclusion, we've never got to know these characters, so it all seems rather pointless. The problem may be that the screenplay is not only a simplistic rendition of an interesting story, but the central performances are shallow and lacking a real connection to both their characters and the audience. Jeremy Davies, who deftly created adolescent angst in the more successful Spanking the Monkey, plays Sonny Burns with an air of such emotional detachment, that one finds it tough to empathise with him. Ben Affleck drifts into self-assured caricature, and seems hopelessly miscast and misguided. The film's main acting strength comes from a few of the women. Ironically, they have less to do this voyeuristic drama, but they add a spark. From her first entrance, Britain's Rachel Weisz is beguiling as a New York Jew who captures Gunner's heart. She is breathtaking and a pleasure to watch, as is Rose McGowan, deft and incisive as the tough woman trying to seduce a confused Sonny. Production values, especially given the film's miniscule budget, are impressive, from the beautiful cinematography to superb 1950s production and costume design. Yet first-time feature director Mark Pellington seems a little lost, not quite knowing in what direction to take his film or these characters. It's a pity, because Going All the Way has so much going for it, but it never goes quite far enough, and leaves one unsatisfied."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1
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GOING ALL THE WAY ()
(US)

CAST: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Davies, Amy Locane, Rose McGowan, Jill Clayburgh, Lesley Ann Warren

PRODUCERS: Thomas Gorai, Sigurjon ‘Joni’ Sighvatsson

DIRECTOR: Mark Pellington

SCRIPT: Dan Wakefield

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bobby Bukowski

MUSIC: tomandandy

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Therese DePrez

RUNNING TIME:

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Globe

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 14, 1998







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