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Greetings again from the darkness. Reading the synopsis on this one
could lead you to believe you've seen the same thing 40 other times -
an indie flick where a nice guy rescues the teenage runaway who has
fallen into a life of stripping/prostitution. This assumption would be
incorrect. What sets this one apart is the script from writer Ken Hixon
and the acting trio of James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa
Two of those names may surprise you. Gandolfini is of course best known
from his run on The Sopranos. What many don't realize is that he was a
fine character actor prior to that iconic role. And many more know
Kristen Stewart only as Bella from the Twilight franchise. In fact, she
was a scene stealer prior to that in Panic Room and again in Into the
Wild. Melissa Leo has experienced a career boon since her Oscar
nomination for Frozen River. This year, she can also be seen in
Conviction and The Fighter.
Hixon's script is unusual because it has the feel of how these people
would actually interact. Gandolfini owns a plumbing supply business and
leading, as they say, a life of quiet desperation. His wife (Leo) has
been a virtual recluse since their teenage daughter died. Their
marriage basically died that night as well, though they keep going
through the motions that 30 years together brings. While attending a
convention in New Orleans, Gandolfini stumbles into a strip joint and
falls right into the life of Stewart.
The obvious thought is that he sees this as his opportunity to rescue
her from this awful life and be the father he never got to be his own
daughter. But there is more. He really comes across as a guy just
searching for meaning in life ... his own life. He doesn't pretend to
have the answers, but is not content to sit around and wait to die. His
bizarre actions motivate his wife to actually leave the house and join
him in New Orleans. Her reaction to what she finds is, once again, very
real and un-Hollywood.
No need for me to give away any details or plot points. Watching these
three together is refreshing for this avid movie goer. The stereotypes
are minimal. The dialogue is sparse, but authentic ... just like the
setting. Searching for meaning can be a painful process and it's not
always obvious when one has succeeded. The director of the film is avid
music video director Jake Scott, who also happens to be the son of
Ridley and nephew of Tony. Jake shows none of the over the top
tendencies of his more famous relatives. In fact, the level of
understatedness is a joy to behold.
Tags for Welcome to the Rileys Full Movie
, Joe Chrest
, Kristen Stewart
, Melissa Leo
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