Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Movie Review

(This is the first movie review of mine that'll be published in Inpress magazine. Three hundred words isn't exactly a lot to work with, but hopefuly I've conveyed the film's general vibe.)

(Sneak Preview Entertainment)
"Mr. Bright, every man, all of us, wants a mother again; someone who'll give us everything and expect nothing in return no matter how badly we act. But a hundred thousand dollars, a hundred million dollars, no amount of money will ever take us back to that world. It's a huge gate that closes behind childhood and never reopens."

Maxwell Bright (Patrick Warburton - remember 'Putty' from Seinfeld?) has a big problem. Actually, he has several problems, but in order to avoid giving away some important drama from the film we'll stick to the central issue. Maxwell Bright is a rampant misogynist. Completely incapable of feeling empathy for women, Max lives in a state of perpetual angst, waiting for the next affront to come from "bull-dyke feminist pigs".

Not surprisingly Mr. Bright lives a life devoid of feminine relationships. Boozing and playing poker with his buddies, Max is descending into a state of sub-human squalor. It is on the back of his latest relationship implosion that Max decides to purchase a more compliant, Asian "mail order" bride.

Unfortunately - or rather, fortunately - for Max there is more to come from his purchase than he is bargaining on. Maxwell's story truly begins when Mai Lei (Marie Matiko), Max's bought bride, arrives at his door. Instead of serving Max's chauvinistic aspirations Mai Lei ends up becoming a metaphoric mirror, held up to reflect his ignorance and selfishness. And when Max's very mortality comes into question it is with the help of Mai Lei that we begin to see the civilization of Maxwell Bright.

Books, covers, judgment - I know I read a fable once that involved a saying along those lines. It is a saying I should have remembered when I picked up this movie for, ignoring the laborious cover art and quotations, The Civilization of Maxwell Bright has a tightly constructed narrative and compelling, believable, at times even confronting, performances by the lead actors. It's a bit B-Grade production meets art house narrative, but it is well worth the watch.

Extra features: Nada

-Bud Rose

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