Review: The Merry Gentleman

Score:B

Director:Michael Keaton

Cast:Michael Keaton, Kelly MacDonald, Tom Bastounes, Darlene Hunt

Running Time:99.00

Rated:R

Michael Keaton makes his directorial debut in The Merry Gentleman, a tale about two kindred spirits who meet by chance and find their budding friendship transform into one of necessity and survival. But with two haunting pasts and an unpredictable future, both must learn that in order to move-on, they must first know when to let go.

Set amidst the quiet, calm landscapes of winter-time Chicago, the film carries a serene, almost lacking quality. But as you watch the story unfold, you find that the background scenery plays up the feelings and emotions of both our lead characters. The dark colors and eerie, gloomy set pieces personify their internal struggles, making you better connect with them as they attempt to sort out their lives and understand their place within this vast world.

Kelly MacDonald stars as Katie Frazier, a kind-hearted woman who finds herself in the middle of a violent relationship. Wanting to free herself from the grips of hell, Katie runs away, hoping for a better life in Chicago. There, under a weird set of circumstances, she is 'discovered' by Frank Logan (Michael Keaton), a down on his luck killer-for-hire who has recently slipped into a suicidal-depression.

Independently, both MacDonald and Keaton give brilliant performances. Their somber tone and hesitant delivery make for a series of awkward encounters, personifying the internal struggles they both are working to overcome. But the film doesn't hit full stride until the two finally meet. It is then that we get to see both work their roles perfectly, hesitantly gearing up for a possible courtship, but neither knowing if they are ready to move into such a lasting possibility. Their hesitation is felt from miles around as you watch their placid relationship build. They are slow moving, too slow at times. However, in the end, it is that which makes the film a unique and classic look at friendship, love and the art of peaceful courtship.

In the end, The Merry Gentleman is not for everyone. The plot does tend to drag, especially when Katie and her cop/stalker meet up for dinner on two seperate occasions. However, if you are able to look past that and see the beauty and placidity of the whole situation, you will understand that though hidden, the emotions of both Katie and Frank make this film real and everlasting.

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About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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