One morning Mel (Saffron Burrows), a mousy, harried New Yorker, learns that the tumor in her throat is cancerous; the diagnosis is terminal. Then she's fired. Rather than lying down to die, she embarks on a self-indulgent wish fulfillment, starting by renting a large loft apartment, which she fills with new clothes and goods she likes, purchased from catalogues by phone. And finally, a red electric guitar, like the one she always wanted as a little girl. She makes friends with the pizza delivery girl, Cookie (Paz de la Huerta) and the man who delivers all her orders, Roscoe (Isaach De Bankole) - both leading to something much more. But just as she begins to expect her time to run out, she discovers that she has changed in her life has changed everything.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
We've probably all wondered what we'd do if given a few short months to live and the premise of The Guitar takes one self indulgent option. Mel (Saffron Burrows) moves into a New York loft apartment - available on a short lease before the building is sold - and discards her previous life both metaphorically and literally. She starts over, this time indulging herself in all the worldly goods she desires, including the red electric guitar she had wanted since a little girl.
Problems arise early in the film, when she is conveniently fired and then her boyfriend conveniently breaks up with her. She seems to have no other friends or even family. It's all a bit fake, as is the extended sequence of her ordering up her favourite things by her newly installed, unlisted phone.
The delivery man (Isaach De Bankole) is a likeable bloke and there is something between them immediately; this developes into a sexual fling, despite his wedding ring. The pizza delivery girl, likewise. Despite her boyfriend. While none of this is at all implausible, it;'s handled with such flimsy direction that it seems absurd.
The story takes an unexpected turn (thank goodness) but our patience is by now pretty thin and the resolution rather too glib. Saffron Burrows is engaging enough as Mel, and both De Bankole and Paz de la Huerta are terrific supports. More could have been made of the premise, both in the writing and the execution.
Published January 8, 2009
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GUITAR,THE: DVD (M)
CAST: Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankole, Paz de la Huerta, Janeane Garofolo, Chris Bauer
PRODUCER: Heyward Collins, Bab Jason, Amos Poe
DIRECTOR: Amy Redford
SCRIPT: Amos Poe
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bobby Bukowski
EDITOR: David Leonard
MUSIC: David Mansfield
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marla Weinhoff
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond
DVD RELEASE: January 6, 2009
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.