Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lack's Strength: "All the Vermeers in New York" (1992)

Jon Jost shoots a little New York film, and bores the hell out of America.

The central story centers around French actress Anna (Emmanuelle Chaulet) falling for Wall Street money man Mark (Stephen Lack). Their courtship begins in the Vermeer room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Mark passes Anna a note. She meets him later with her roommate Felicity, who pretends to translate for Anna. Mark pursues her until she decides to go back to France, with Felicity, and Mark finally confesses his love in a tragic phone call.


This slow moving film is so boring I took three days to watch the eighty-seven minute thing. The central story takes forever. There are subplots that are brought up and dropped worse than any other film I have ever see. Gordon the poor artist trying to borrow money from a gallery owner? Dropped. Felicity's dad using her name to make possibly illegal stock transactions? Dropped. Felicity and Anna's constantly rehearsing roommate? Dropped.

The best scenes in the film involve Stephen Lack as Mark. All of his scenes just crackle, and he does some excellent ad-libs. His scene on one of the World Trade Center towers, as he talks about death while a jet plane can be heard over head (this was shot in the early 1990's) is creepy and fascinating. He held back too much in "Scanners," but here he is the only reason to sit through this muck.

"All the Vermeers in New York" is like Woody Allen on his worst day. I wish Jost could have given us more, not bore. (*) out of five stars.