Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
Making a new start in life is invigorating for the soul. Just about everyone in the United States is descended from immigrants who came here from Somewhere Else, looking for Something Better. In the film "Auggie Rose," John C. Nolan (played by the always interesting Jeff Goldblum) has what looks like a pretty good life: an attractive girlfriend (Nancy Travis in a thankless role), elegant digs, a well-paying job, no financial worries & an expensive taste for the finer things in life. Nolan's life is forever changed while he is critically evaluating a bottle of wine at a liquor store. An employee goes to the back of the store to exchange it. A robber rushes into the store just as the unfortunate employee returns from the back with the replacement bottle. His sudden entrance startles the robber who shoots him to death. This ends the life of the real Auggie Rose (Kim Coates as an ex-con working at his first job since his release from prison).
Nolan is stunned & guilt-stricken by the murder: if he hadn't asked for another bottle of wine, Auggie Rose would be alive & well. Obsessively, he investigates Auggie's life: who was he, where did he live, what were his plans for his life? His girlfriend doesn't understand the obsession, so he stops talking to her about it or anything else. He takes time off from his job & starts to BE Auggie Rose: moving into his rented room, collecting his mail & learning that Auggie was writing from from prison to Lucy Brown, who's planning a visit. Fully planning to tell her the sad news, Nolan meets Lucy when she comes to town & guess what? When Lucy embraces him on arrival, he can't bring himself to tell her that he isn't Auggie. Since Lucy is played by the extremely appealing Anne Heche, we aren't surprised. When will Nolan tell her the truth? Well, that's the movie. Why does an ex-con's life mean so much to Nolan that he is fully prepared to abandon his own secure existence? Well, that's the movie, too. Why did this 2000 release go straight to cable television before San Francisco's Roxie Cinema decided to take a chance on giving it a theatrical release? Well, the Roxie is famous for breathing new life into gems that were overlooked by distributors like this one & "Red Rock West" & even the surprising crowd favorite, "Panic". The Roxie patrons are receptive to off-the beaten-track movies & the Roxie programmers have discovered that movies that no one else wants can be profitable rent payers
© 2001 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 5/16/01
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