Thursday, February 16, 2017

Love and Death on Long Island

A matter of days after turning seventy-seven, the world of film lost John Hurt. A performer whose presence was always welcome, he could go from leading man to character actor with complete ease. The quality of the project didn't always matter; you could always guarantee Hurt will deliver.

And he does just that in Richard Kwietniowski's Love and Death on Long Island. As the reclusive Giles De'Ath (note the name), Hurt shows an awakening of sorts during the film's duration. And it all starts by going into the wrong movie at the cinema.

He had paid to see an E.M. Forster adaptation but Giles mistakenly ends up seeing a raunchy teen comedy. Just as he's about to leave, he lays eyes on Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestley), one of the movie's young actors. What ensues for Giles is a slowly unraveling obsession.

In a way, Love and Death on Long Island is an update of Death in Venice: a man past the prime of his life yearns for one who's in the peak of his. It's something often seen throughout fiction, that futile grasp at feeling desired when in old age. Many times it's something that merely adds insult to injury for the elder subject but regardless of what one's age might be, it's merely a need found in most of the human race.

Love and Death on Long Island is merely further testament that Hurt was one of the finest actors of his generation. His passing will leave a hole in the world of cinema, one that will tried to be filled but never will be. He was honestly a one-of-a-kind presence, and he will be missed dearly.

My Rating: ****

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