Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Enduring Love

is one of those quirky, little Brit movies that my sister-in-law, Roberta, loves (the Roberta "quirky Brit movie" genre would include such flicks as "Shirley Valentine" and "Sexy Beast").

Intrigued by a Boston Globe review of the DVD release, I hunted it up, and found the sole copy at our local Blockbuster. To give a moment to digression, I'm not a fan of chains, be it Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, or Blockbuster. But the reality is that most of the small CD/DVD stores around here, whether purchase or rental, stock only the top sellers. Would that more of them would model themselves after the Toadstool Bookshop, which offers an eclectic selection of books far past the NY Times bestseller list. Given a choice, I always buy from the Toadstool, even giving up my B&N or Amazon discount in order to throw an independent bookseller business.

End of advertisement and digression and back to Enduring Love. The Globe reviewer had mentioned that the movie disappeared almost without a trace of public or critical comment after its theatrical release, not that much a surprise, I think, for anyone who sees the movie. With the exception of a haunting opening sequence involving a hot air balloon accident, the movie is long on atmosphere and short on action. An audience raised on the hyperkinetic entertainment of most popular movies was probably fiddling with its collective cell phone 20 minutes into the film. Another issue may be the sound quality, which to my ears is extremely muddy, at least on the DVD release. There are entire sequences, especially those involving two or more people in conversation, where I was struggling to make sense out of what was going on thanks to the low sound levels and the British habit of swallowing most words.

Having said all that, I'll also say that while Enduring Love can be extremely slow-paced, it is also very good, and well worth your time if you're looking for a movie out of the ordinary.

I went to bed last night thinking about love, and whether, as one of the characters maintains, if it is purely biologically-driven, what can it mean when you fall out of love? And if it is solely biologically-driven, where does homosexual love fit in?

I was also thinking about survivor's guilt, and the Prisoner's Dilemma, a variation of which is presented in the movie. If you're in a situation with a group where action on your part will allow you to survive but, if you take that action first, may mean that others will die, what do you do? If no one takes action, you may all survive, or you may all die. But the moment someone else takes action, your chances of survival decrease.

What do you do?

All those questions -- and more -- are asked in Enduring Love, probably another reason that the film failed at the box office. What's the last movie that made you think, that made you question assumptions, that made you ask the hard questions of yourself?

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