2010   USA Jack Goes Boating
Jack Goes Boating Image Cover
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Director:Philip Seymour Hoffman
Studio:Big Beach Films
Writer:Robert Glaudini
IMDb Rating:6.3 (3,731 votes)
Awards:4 nominations
Genre:Comedy, Drama, Romance
Duration:89 min
Location:New York
Philip Seymour Hoffman  ...  (Director)
Robert Glaudini  ...  (Writer)
Philip Seymour Hoffman  ...  Jack
John Ortiz  ...  Clyde
Richard Petrocelli  ...  Uncle Frank
Thomas McCarthy  ...  Dr. Bob
Amy Ryan  ...  Connie
Daphne Rubin-Vega  ...  Lucy
Lola Glaudini  ...  Italian Woman
Isaac Schinazi  ...  Pastry Chef
Rafael Osorio  ...  Ungainly Swimmer (as Ralph Osorio)
Stephen Adly Guirgis  ...  MTA Worker
Mason Pettit  ...  Drunk Man on Subway
Trevor Long  ...  Waldorf Doorman
Stephen Mailer  ...  Happy Husband
Elizabeth Rainer  ...  Happy Wife
Theodore Mailer  ...  Young Son
W. Mott Hupfel III  ...  Cinematographer
Count Stovall  ...  Men's Room Attendant
Grizzly Bear  ...  Composer
Evan Lurie  ...  Composer
Comments: Phillip Seymour Hoffman fans should be happy with this, his directorial debut. Hoffman is the king of uncomfortable and he directs to his strength here. Beyond directing himself well, a couple other things struck me as far as the direction goes. He uses a lot of music and knows how to pick tunes. The soundtrack is full of Grizzly Bear with a little Evan Lurie sprinkled about. "Rivers of Babylon", by The Melodians serves as a sort of theme song, being played at the beginning, the end, and during a climatic scene in the middle. A couple songs that stand out as beautiful in and of themselves, and at really nailing the mood, are Goldfrapp's "Eat Yourself" and DeVotchKa's "Dearly Departed". You can listen to these tracks at IFC's web page for the film.

I don't want to give the impression that this film is some kind of music video collage, because it's not. Far from it. The other thing that strikes me about the direction is the tendency, reminiscent of John Cassavetes, to let scenes go on for just a little bit longer than you think they should, allowing for moments of tension or discomfort to linger and echo. And there are a lot of moments of tension and discomfort in the film. The silences contrast beautifully with the more musical moments.

The film is adapted from a play about the intermingling relationships of two couples. One is beginning, the other is established and endured, if not enduring. The established couple, Clyde and Lucy (John Ortiz and Daphne Rubin-Vega), set up their friend Jack (Hoffman) with Lucy's co-worker Connie (Amy Ryan). The use of contrast at work again. One relationship is about to bloom, while the other fights a season of wither. Hoffman, Ortiz, and Ruben-Vega starred in the stage version and reprise their respective roles here. Needless to say they know their parts inside and out. The film has a playful and slow pace and is filled with sharp dialog, a lot of which seems to jump in from out of nowhere. Half the stuff that comes out of Connie's mouth made me chuckle and think 'Where did that come from? Did she really just say that?' Amy Ryan is fabulous here, as are all the players.

The only weakness is that the climactic scene sort of fails, but it doesn't kill the film. It's just one scene you might wish had been done better or different. Or maybe not. Jack Goes Boating is a wonderful character play with a strong script, great acting, and a moving soundtrack. It's kind of brutal and it's pure Philip.


Summary: A limo driver's blind date sparks a tale of love, betrayal, friendship, and grace centered around two working-class New York City couples.

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