Written and Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman
My advice: Moving stuff. A must see.
Rating: out of
On New York's lower east side we find Walter Koontz (De Niro), an aging and retired security guard. To make ends
meet he guards the very place within which he lives. Populated with transsexuals and drug dealers, it doesn't
take long for the criminal activity to turn his way. In the middle of a perpetration gone sour he suffers a paralyzing
stroke that leaves him almost unable to speak.
With no immediate family and few friends to fall back on, Walt has no one to
turn to. Content to stay in his apartment and waste away the rest of his life, he refuses therapy and seems destined
to die the bitter and angry old man he has become. It's at a doctor's insistence that he reluctantly seeks out
his drag queen neighbor, Rusty (Hoffman). Walt enlists Rusty, a flamboyant cabaret performer, to teach him to
sing and once again strengthen his weakened vocal cords.
I found this movie delightful and entertaining. To see two such diverse characters trapped within themselves looking
for a way out and a path to happiness was inspiring. We can only hope to learn, in our limited lifetimes, to forget
the differences of others and to look for that thread that binds us all as humanity. Our souls. This is what
this movie artfully preaches.
Both De Niro and Hoffman give compassionate performances. One might even say
performances of Oscar caliber. The sad thing is I fear Hoffman, still rather unknown but for his diehard fans,
will be passed over which is a crying shame as his Rusty is sympathetic, energetic and wonderfully watchable.
I do think, however, you can look for De Niro to get a Golden nod. This man is unsurpassable in all that he endeavors
That title says it all.