Sunday, 18 February 2007

Roger Dodger (2002)

An interesting and well-written exploration into the honey trap of love and sex. Campbell Scott's arch asshole (think James Spader, with a job) is perfectly played. It was also good to see Elizabeth Berkley still alive and in some ways still recovering from her 'fuck-like-she-burns' role in 'Showgirls.' The Mamet-like dialogue and central conceit drew me in. Not thoroughly enjoyable and a little complacent, the film reminded me a little of 'In the Company of Men': dry, cold and more impressive than fun. It's was refreshing to watch a film that feels like it has been worked on, that has a firm grip on its characters. One of the things i've always enjoyed about movies is the way in which we throw ourselves at the mercy of someone else. We entrust them with our soul for a few hours. They either return it soggy or in shreds or, in this case, not only in tact, but a little shinier. there's nothing more refreshing than well-honed cynicism.

16 year old Nick comes to New York to learn all about women from his frustrated player of an uncle, Roger (the Dodger). Much fun is had with the master / pupil set-up and Dylan Kidd makes good use of the bustling bars and lonely crowds that comprise the city. Professional alienation and corporate reduction have forged Roger - a man who, in a better environent or another time might have been a worthy hero - into a bitter and twisted fucker. It's easy to see what Roger is, without deconstructing him on screen. The filmmakers realise that there's more mileage in seeing where he goes rather than where he's been. Kidd doesn't seem to have made strides since the realease of 'Roger Dodger', which is a shame as he has a light touch and a sharp ear. It may not be a whole load of fun, but it's a genuine and well crafted piece of work.

P. Cabrelli

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