Volume 17 • Issue 10 / July 30 - August 05, 2004


Koch on Film

By, Ed Koch

“The Inheritance” (+)
A superb film with a gripping story and superb acting. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in months, and I urge everyone to see it.

Christoffer (Ulrich Thomsen) lives with his wife, Maria (Lisa Werlinder), in Stockholm where he owns a restaurant and she is a Shakespearean actress. When his father, who owns a steel mill in Copenhagen, hangs himself, Christoffer is urged by his mother, Annelise (Ghita Norby), to return and run the company.

From that point on the story focuses on how running the company impacts on Christoffer’s life and character. He lays people off, fires his brother-in-law, Ulrik (Lars Brygmann, who had expected to be the new CEO), and he violates his pledge to his wife on how long they would be in Copenhagen before returning to their idyllic life in Stockholm.

The two principal characters are beautiful and handsome to behold, and the destruction of their loving relationship is painful to watch. Much of the film is intended to show how the pursuit of money can destroy everything that is worthwhile and change the very character of people. In Danish with English subtitles.

“The Clearing” (-)
I shouldn’t have been surprised that I found this film disappointing, since The New York Times critic, Dave Kehr, came to the same conclusion. I decided to see it anyway because of the cast, which includes Helen Mirren, who can do no wrong in my book, and Robert Redford, whom I always enjoy watching on screen.

Someone once asked me who I would like to portray me if a movie were made about my mayoralty. I said Paul Newman, but when he got too old, I changed it to Robert Redford. Now he is also too old, but he is still a wonderful actor.

The story involves two families. One consists of the well-off Wayne Hayes (Robert Redford), his wife Eileen (Helen Mirren), their son Tim (Alessandro Nivola), and their daughter Jill (Melissa Sagemiller). The second family is made up of Arnold Mack (Willem Dafoe), who is down and out living with his wife and her father in his small home.

Arnold kidnaps Wayne and we witness their sojourn through a forest, the agony of the victim’s family, and their dealings with FBI Agent Fuller (Matt Craven).

The acting is very good and the film locations are interesting. While the plot lent itself to suspense, it is only occasionally interesting and never gripping. In the end, it turned into a dead mackerel and a film not worth seeing.

—Ed Koch

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