A year after his American
film debut, Peter Weir reteamed with his Witness star (Harrison
Ford) for a tricky adaptation of Paul Theroux's novel of a modern
man who takes his family into the jungle. The results are mixed,
but the film is galvanized by Ford's atypical performance as
inventor/madman Allie Fox. Paul Schrader's script sets up Allie
as a man who follows his idea: that America is dying and the
real "four-in-the-morning courage" is found in returning
to the essence of life, here the jungles of Honduras (it was
shot in Belize). With his family in tow (including Helen Mirren
and River Phoenix), Allie creates a utopia when his inventions
create a local sensation, but seedier elements from bandits
to evangelicals (led by Andre Gregory) take their toll. Certainly,
it's hard to root for a central character who is unpleasant
("a know-it-all who is sometimes right," as one states).
But Weir's film is logical and true in its progression and,
as usual, is beautifully crafted (he also reteams with the cinematographer,
editor, and composer of Witness). Ford's rawness is reminiscent
of many an actor's foray into the meaty role of an independent
film--which this film is certainly not--and, unfortunately,
it was not the direction he ultimately pursued.
Filmed on location in Belize. Harrison Ford stayed at the Victoria
House on Ambergris Caye.
Director: Peter Weir Starring: Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren,
Based on a story by Paul Theroux
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