Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hurricane (1979)

Poor Timothy Bottoms. He thought he had something going. Big disaster-drama. Fancy European director, mega-producer fixing the money. Wonderful co-actors and a one hundred percent hit on the box office. But Timothy Bottom was wrong, as usual. Hurricane cost over twenty million US dollar and didn't earn much money. The chaos on set is legendary, and Swedish director Jan Troell once said that he could spend hours every day on the beach, just laying there watching the sky. Nothing else. So what is the problem with Hurricane? I think it's mainly the script, which a classic love-story: white rich woman falls for nature boy and everyone get's angry at them, but everything is told very lifeless. Characters are either reacting to hard or to little on what's happening, and when stuff is starting to get interesting the hurricane arrives and kill everyone.

So during ninety minutes nothing really important happens, except the love story which never has that spark. Nothing wrong with either Mia Farrow or Dayton Ka'ne, it's just nothing between them. Jason Robards transformation from nice dad to psychopatic military is sudden and it's hard to imagine it ever happen in real life. Good character actors like Bottoms, Von Sydow and Howard are slumming in the background and never gets something good to do. The only time the movie lives is when Troell is focusing on the island natives, which are a lot more interesting and well written than all the whiteys running around pretending to be important.

But thank the fairy tale-god, finally the storm hits and it's a nice thirty minutes of classic Dino De Laurentiis-megabudget-action. A good combination between nice minatures and real life physical effects shows a realistic and powerful disaster, one of the best I've seen actually. It's far from typical Hollywood but never shy away from some big budget extravaganza. Hurricane also has a kinda downbeat ending which makes up for the ninty minutes I almost fell asleep. One can wonder what would have been if Roman Polanski didn't get in trouble at Jack Nicholsons house and he instead of Troell directed Hurricane? I doubt it would have been better, but maybe Polanski was more used to the big budget politics and could handle a production like this better. Troell admits this wasn't his cup of tea and went back to Sweden and directed some of most critically acclaimed Swedish movies ever.

And Timothy Bottoms? Some years later he starred in classics such as Amando de Ossorio's The Sea Serpent, Don Sharp's What Waits Below and of course the legendary killer-baboon movie In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro. He's still the best, and has worked steadily since then... but very far from the movies he deserves.

1 comment:

CiNEZiLLA said...

Bizarre... I'd never have associated Troell with this movie at all if not for your post. As you say he's directed some of the most powerful and amazing Swedish Movies of all time and then... Hurricane...

Weird. I guess it just goes to prove that bigger ain't always better!