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the event
Click for full sized poster

The Event

Starring Parker Posey, Olympia Dukakis, Don McKellar
Screenplay by Thom Fitzgerald and Steven Hillyer
Directed by Thom Fitzgerald
no website

IN SHORT: arthouse friendly Earnest AIDS drama. [Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug use. 105 minutes]

Sometimes film makers forget one of the basic tenets of writing -- character development. This is the killer flaw in Thom Fitzgerald's The Event, which begins with the death of the main character and flashes back to the days in which he reveals his HIV diagnosis to his friends and family. He's got a mom and two sisters for support and, when all is said and done, a NY City coroner (Parker Posey) investigating his death.

Matt (Don McKellar) is not about to whither and die in agony so The Event tracks the months up until one final blowout party marks his decision to take control of his life and his friends' commitment to help him on his merry way. Yes, Matt is gay. No biggee. The material we need to get an idea of who he was isn't present in The Event, which is remarkable since the main story is driven by the Polley's investigation. What did Matt do for a living? No idea. What drew him to his friends, gay and/or straight? No idea. The only dramatic (thrust) left to the story is a (still on the books) law making suicide, and the abetting of such, illegal. Simply, Matt's friends are up the creek. They know it. They're prepared.

In the 70s, humans in their prime gay and straight hit Studio or their local equivalent and partied ' til they dropped. In the 80s, new wave clubs replaced discos and h-i-t-p partied til they dropped. Sometime in that same decade, "the plague" hit the gay community and those partygoers started dropping permanently. Twenty years on, HIV has crossed the barrier of sexual preferences so y'all wear protection, y'hear?

Our problem: story focus. AND (because it's always come up with movies involving gay characters), no we're not and yes, we've lost friends to the plague. Not many but enough that, if The Event were truly tugging on heartstrings across the sexual spectrum, we would have had memories of friends lost to dip into. It's emphasis on the sexual community, as opposed to the drama of Posey's investigation, is where we step off. Matt's relationship to is mother (Olympia Dukakis) is well defined but the subplot which offers to kick the dramatic elements -- legal shtick -- doesn't. It's a shame, too, because the resolution is very clever.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Event, he would have paid . . .



amazon com link Click to buy films by Thom Fitzgerald
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the event

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