Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.
A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.
Having left New Hampshire over excessive demands by the locals, the cast and crew of "The Old Mill" moves their movie shoot to a small town in Vermont. However, they soon discover that The Old Mill burned down in 1960, the star can't keep his pants zipped, the starlet won't take her top off, and the locals aren't quite as easily conned as they appear.Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
It's difficult to write an objective review about a film that I'm so enthusiastic about, but there's no getting around it-- I haven't been this excited about a movie in a long time, so I'll just forge ahead. The film is `State and Main,' written and directed by David Mamet, and arguably his best effort since 1987's `House Of Games.' When a movie company invades the sleepy hamlet of Waterford, Vermont, for a location shoot, complete with big name stars Bob Barrenger (Alec Baldwin) and Claire Wellesley (Sarah Jessica Parker) in tow, it creates quite a stir; and before it's over many of the townsfolk, as well as a few of those connected with the film, have learned some things about themselves-- and others-- they never knew before. Things about honesty, purity and the moral flexibility inherent in many of those who reside here on planet Earth. As a setting for the making of the film within the film-- which is about purity and second chances-- Mamet takes a page right out of Americana, complete with a Main Street, an historic firehouse, a quaint hostelry and even-- `maybe'-- an old mill on a stream. And in making a film about making a film about purity and second chances, he's made a film about purity and, well, second chances; a terrific character study that is forthright and sincere, and which rings with truth from beginning to end. It's as honest as it is real, and so accessible that it makes an instant connection with the audience. There are characters and situations here with which everyone will be able to identify in one way or another, all presented refreshingly and quite unpredictably. Just when you think you see something coming from a mile away, you're treated to one of those famous Mamet `twists' that take you exactly where you didn't think you were going. And Mamet does it so well that it's not only highly entertaining, but invigorating as well. The cast he put together for this film is superlative, beginning with William H. Macy as Walt Price, the director of the movie. A Mamet regular, Macy creates a character infused with that magic Mamet realism that helps establish the credibility of the film from the outset. Baldwin is perfectly cast as the `star' with certain insatiable appetites and recreational needs, as is Parker, as the actress with a sudden case of `issues' regarding her contractual obligations. And David Paymer does a solid turn as Marty Rossen, the producer of the film. But the two actors who really make this movie tick are the charismatic Rebecca Pidgeon, and the versatile, multi-talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Pidgeon is absolutely captivating as Ann Black, the local who runs the book shop and directs the town's drama group (which includes just about everybody in Waterford, it seems). She's winsome and charming, with a directness and vigor that is stunning; and she captures the very essence of Ann-- the intelligence and the compassion-- and conveys it convincingly to the audience. It's a memorable performance, and one of the strengths (among many) of the movie. The real star of the show, however, is Hoffman, as Joseph Turner White, the writer of the movie. He gives an introspective performance filled with nuance and subtlety that is so real-- so pure-- that he single-handedly takes the film to a whole new level. Like Meryl Streep, Hoffman has that chameleon-like ability that enables him to be anyone and everyone, yet always unique; it's a quality with which few actors are endowed, and he uses his gift to full advantage here, with his memorable portrayal of White. Simply put, it's a great performance by a great actor, and one that should earn him an Oscar nomination. The supporting cast includes Charles Durning (Mayor George Bailey), Clark Gregg (Doug), Patti LuPone (Sherry Bailey), Julia Stiles (Carla) and Ricky Jay (Jack). Mamet has a style that make his films uniquely his own, and `State and Main' is one of his best. Exceptionally well done and delivered, it's intelligent, funny and entertaining; an honest and succinct examination of human nature with an integrity at it's core that makes it a truly great film. This is a prime example of what the magic of the movies is all about; a film that absolutely should not be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
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