Movie Review By Heather Clisby
"Niagra, Niagra" is a film about what happens when two young, unstable people become a couple and go on a road trip to another country and forget to pack their medication. Seth, played by Henry Thomas, and Marcy, played by Robin Tunney, meet in the local store and immediately admire one another's shoplifting skills.
Their friendship is instant and awkward, with Marcy leading and Seth struggling to keep up. It doesn't take long to determine that Marcy is high-maintenance - she's quirky, strange, troubled and that's on a good day. Marcy has Tourette's Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes expletive outbursts, violent behavior and a wide variety of bizarre tics. To calm herself, Marcy explains to Seth, she takes numerous medications chased by huge gulps of Jack Daniels. "Also," she offers coyly, "sex helps." And they're off!
When Marcy laments that the store does not carry a Barbie styling head of the African-American variety, Seth states that only a big city like Toronto would offer such a product. He has a car and a horrible, mean father he'd like to escape; she has money and lots of time so, once again . . . they're off!
Eventually, Marcy's drug supply runs out and after several failed attempts to ply the mercy of small town pharmacists, they become desperate and turn to crime. After Seth gets his leg shot during one botched attempt, things look grim. Meanwhile, Marcy's behavior is becoming more unsuitable for public viewing with each passing mile.
Thankfully, the lovers are rescued by an crotchety old fringe dweller named Walter, played by Michael Parks. Walter is a real friend and fears for the future of the wayward couple, even covering for them when the cops come looking. He teaches Seth to fish and opens up to Marcy about his love, Esther, his deceased wife.
Alas, Marcy (being Marcy) can't help herself and the curse of her mental state. After she beats Walter to a bloody pulp, Seth has no choice but to throw her in Walter's tow truck and take off, leaving his new friend to die while stealing his vehicle.
"Niagra, Niagra" is a Bob Gosse film written by Matthew Weis and it's a disturbing portrait of mental illness via a road trip with pills, booze, crime and a lot of love. Tunney, an interesting cross between Debra Winger and Demi Moore, is a real talent - she even drove ME crazy. The characters are sad but optimistic; the film can be difficult to watch at times because they are so obviously doomed.
© 1999 - Heather Clisby - Air Date: 4/8/98
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page