STUDIO: New Line Cinema
MSRP: $19.97 RATED: R
SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary w/ director Bruno Barreto & actress Amy Irving

You could put a chef behind the grill in Burger King and
give him the best ingredients available but he is still going to make you a
hamburger. Snappy huh? I just made that up. Feel free to use it. That is going
to be my new line when someone asks me about a movie and I give them a so-so
response but I can’t tell them why. Can you see where this is going? Yep, I’m
going to get something to eat…

The Flick

Carried Away is a film about love and life and how neither
of these subjects seems to be clean or clearly defined. The characters of this
movie run headlong into that fact. Dennis Hopper plays Joseph a run down man
who is a “crappy farmer and a worse teacher” in a small farming community. He
is teaching his last semester at the town’s two-room schoolhouse as the school
district is expanding and now the kids will have to be bussed into the city
some sixty miles away. His farming hopes aren’t very high either as a tractor
accident in his youth left him hobbled and reliant on a cane. He has been
seeing Rosalee (Amy Irving), the other teacher at the town’s school and the
widow of his best friend for years now but can’t seem to commit to marry
her. Partially because he still lives
with his mother and she lives with the mother of her dead husband, and
partially because he doesn’t think he can measure up to his dead friend. In
short he is a broken man living in a broken town.

Do you realize that together we’ve taken more drugs than your average high school.

There is a routine to their lives, as there commonly is in
small towns even for Joseph’s mother who is in the later stages of cancer. This
routine is upset when a new family arrives. Their daughter Catherine is a
senior and so is in Joseph’s class. She also has a horse and since the home
that the Wheelers moved into doesn’t have a barn they go to their neighbor,
Joseph, to see if they can rent space in his. They strike a deal but Joseph
seems more occupied stealing looks at Catherine than negotiation. You can feel
just the slightest shift in him and in Catherine, especially when she begins to
saddle up her horse but her father says that there is not time for that and
Joseph says that he can take her home after she rides.

There is even a bigger shift the next day in school when she
is giving him “do me” looks throughout class with her skirt riding high on her
young thighs. What follows is Joseph’s desperate attempt to flee his complacent
routine life. He sees it as wrong but he also sees that he is on a path that
leads nowhere. She is not just a fresh breath of air or a hot piece of ass but
everything that he never did in his life. All he has to do is look at his
mother, wasting away in pain to know that life is short an unrelenting and he
has wasted so much of it simply existing instead of living.

He continues to love Rosalee even though their relationship
remains on the mundane side. He knows that as fun as the fling with the younger
Catherine is it won’t and shouldn’t last. It is a moment in passing whereas
what he has with Rosalee is real and been there since they were young, it’s
history and devotion. Of course their secret gets out and it all comes crashing
down for Joseph and Rosalee but they are not distraught, injured maybe but
their lives have been hard and adversity is nothing new to them.

This is how you get an R rating.

This is not a flashy movie. Hopper is very at ease and
almost restrained in his performance, at least when you compare it to the roles
that he is know for. In the commentary they mention that this was his first
project after Waterworld and that is a perfect example of diametrically opposed
performance. Amy Irving does a tremendous job of making the Rosalee character
believable. Her strength and pain read perfectly in her countenance. Gary Busey
is featured on the box but not given a lot to do in the film but feel imposing
in a couple of scenes. I’ve got to tell you I see Gary Busey with a gun and I’m
imposed. The actress that played Catherine is Amy Locane you might know her as
Brendan Fraser’s girlfriend in Airheads. Her performance was satisfactory but
it didn’t have the layers that Irving and Hopper put in it.

The directing pretty much matched the story. In the
commentary you learn how hard he worked to get this made and how much he loved
the material so he doesn’t try to distract you with evasive camera work. He
doesn’t try to hammer home meaning with angles or lenses; he lets the actors do
that. He is a foreign director (from Brazil I believe) and so he doesn’t shy
away from the nudity. All three of the principal actors have scenes with
complete nudity but he doesn’t present it in an over eroticized manor. There is
a kitchen scene in particular that has both Hopper and Irving (who is the
directors wife) totally sans clothes and yet it plays so powerful the nudity
though front and center does not dominate.

This is a quiet movie. I don’t mean like the sound sucks but
it is not one of your over the top monstrosities. It is a showpiece for the
actors and they shine. It is not overly contrived or formulaic and it is very
well done. That being said, I’m pretty meh about it myself. Yes the actors do a
great job and the director doesn’t screw it up, but it is not a homerun for me
either. It is a great movie to see another side of Dennis Hopper, though.

6.0 out of 10

This is how you get an AAAARRRR!!! rating.

The Look

This movie has a very natural look to it nothing in the
style calls particular attention to itself. The film uses very muted colors and
the blacks do dominate some scenes making it pretty dark. The transfer is not
bad but not the crispest or sharpest.

5.2 out of 10

The Noise

It comes in two nice flavors Dolby Digital and DTS, I’m not
really sure why but it does. I didn’t notice any element of sound design that
necessitated the inclusion of both or either.

5.0 out of 10

Hey I’ve got a dumbass idea.

The Goodies

There is one commentary track and it features the husband
wife team of director Bruno Barreto and actress Amy Irving. They were also the
executive producers on the film as well and the track pretty decent. They talk
about the dinner parties where they heard abut this project and how they got
the option for free and casting decisions. They don’t just talk about
themselves and pat each other on the back; well they do that but not
exclusively. Listening to them they really believed in this material and were
extremely happy to bring it to life and that it is coming out on DVD because
not many people got to see it in the theater.

5.5 out of 10

The Artwork

Well we got three floating heads with their names above them
and a girl lifting up her skirt, well I like the last part of that. I would
have to say that it is my second favorite feature of the cover the first being
the quote down on the bottom “Two thumbs up. Way up!” by Siskel & Ebert.
That is the only thing that I looked twice at it gets two points just

4.5 out of 10

Oh, it’s out there…70′ long and hungry.

Overall: 5.8 out of 10