FAY GRIM: DVD
Fay Grim, (Parker Posey) is afraid her son Ned (Liam Aiken) will turn out like his father, Henry, who has been a fugitive for seven years. Fay's brother, Simon (James Urbaniak), is serving a prison sentence for helping Henry (Thomas Jay Ryan) escape the country. Adding to her trials, Fay is approached by a CIA agent (Jeff Goldblum) to help find Henry's missing notebooks in exchange for Simon's freedom. The mission escalates into a global con-game that plunges Fay deep into the deadly politics of espionage
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
" .. it should also hold in thrall those movie lovers who get a hit out of good writing, strong and unusually vivid characterisations, where the complexities and contradictions of human nature grow like fast ivy .." That's what I wrote 10 years ago about Hal Hartley's Henry Fool, to which Fay Grim is a kind of sequel - and Parker Posey (who lived with Henry for seven years and had his child - now 14) is Fay Grim again. The writing is good again, and Hartley is good ...still.
Slyly, almost imperceptibly comedic, Fay Grim is indeed 'a film by Hal Hartley', who wrote, directed, edited and scored the film. But it's also Parker Posey's film; she's edgy, volatile and seductive all at once, an agitated mother, a reluctant spy and a complex character who carries the film on her shoulders. And she's amusing. It's a virtuoso performance. Geoff Goldblum brings his subtle and wry sensibilities to the role of CIA agent Fulbright, with a razor sharp delivery. Elina Löwensohn is terrific fun as Bebe, who has a history with Henry, is adamant she isn't a spy but a stewardess ... or a pole dancer.
Hartley has some wicked moments, such as the scene in a hotel lobby where Fay is checking in under the supervision of a French agent when the mysterious woman from an earlier encounter, Juliet (Saffron Burrows), calls her on the dedicated mobile phone. Fay had been instructed to turn it on to vibrate, and she had secreted the phone in her nickers. So it's a real pleasure for Fay when the woman calls the mobile ...
There are also some masterfully choreographed scenes, for example between Fulbright and Fay in a hotel lobby after a traumatic episode, in which they confront each other while manoeuvring in a nuanced dance macabre, sort of. It's audacious but it works. And there are others.
But Hartley never overdoes it so the film remains a genuine thriller, with a well calibrated climactic third act, a sophisticated surface and a resonant interior. Memorable.
Published March 19, 2009
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FAY GRIM: DVD (M)
CAST: Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, James Urbaniak, Saffron Burrows, Elina Löwensohn, Leo Fitzpatrick, Chuck Montgomery, Megan Gay, Jasmin Tabatabai, John Keogh and Thomas Jay Ryan
PRODUCER: Hal Hartley, Martin Hageman, Jason Kliot, , Mike S. Ryan, Joana Viente
DIRECTOR: Hal Hartley
SCRIPT: Hal Hartley
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sarah Cawley
EDITOR: Hal Hartley
MUSIC: Hal Hartley
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Sylvarnes
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Reel
DVD RELEASE: March 5, 2009