Retro Film Review: Gloria (1999)
Pointless remakes represent the disease that affects even the most talented film-makers and those who should have known better. Sydney Lumet, one of the prolific, but also one of the most respected American filmmakers, succumbed to it when agreed to direct Gloria, 1999 film based on the screenplay for John Cassavettes' 1980 eponymous drama film.
Titular heroine of the film (played by Sharon Stone) is street-savvy New York woman who spent some years behind bars in order to protect her boyfriend, small-time Irish gang boss Kevin (played by Jeremy Northam). She expects some kind of award for trouble, but Kevin proves to be ungrateful and more concerned with some his close associates. One of them is Puerto Rican accountant who collected all kinds of incriminating evidence against Kevin and his organisation; Kevin solves that problem by having him and his family brutally murdered. The only survivor is Nicky Nunez (played by Jean-Luke Figueroa), accountant's 7-year old son. Due to a confusing set of circumstances Gloria takes away Nicky and tries to bring him to safety. However, Nicky's lack of relatives and Gloria's lack of parenting experiences leads to all kinds of problems, not including Gloria's inability to turn little child to more appropriate sort of care. In the meantime, both of them are relentlessly pursued by underworld killers.
Gloria is another sad example of what happens to old masters when they become too prolific. The film is overlong, poorly edited and every scene looks more like a work of third-grade television hack than someone responsible for the likes 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon. The only thing that might keep audience's attention is in Sharon Stone's attempts to prove that she can play tough street women just like she can play refined seductresses. Those attempts, even when they fail, are sometimes entertaining in a morbid sort of way. However, even sadder than this film is realisation that so many great talents got wasted in this pointless effort, including great George C. Scott, whose brief appearance in the role of courtly mob boss (and one of his last roles), represents one of this film's few bright moments.
RATING: 3/10 (+)
(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.films.reviews on February 28th 2005)
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