Love and Death on Long Island (Lions Gate) has little action, very few characters and a slow-to-develop plot. However, its originality, wit and humor make it one of the best films this year.
Giles De’Ath (John Hurt, Rob Roy) is a widowed author in England. An aging and lonely man, De’Ath has yet to be tainted by the technological advancements of the 20th century. His life is forever altered by mistakenly attending Hotpants College 2., a movie starring teen heartthrob Ronnie Bostock (Jason Priestly, “Beverly Hills, 90210”).
De’Ath immediately is infatuated with Bostock and becomes obsessed with learning every minute detail about him. De’Ath eventually makes his way to Chesterton, Bostock’s small hometown on the tip of Long Island.
Hurt is magnificent as the uncanny author, whose dry humor and wit dazzles audiences. He portrays De’Ath’s lack of connection to the modern world exquisitely, making parts of the film downright hysterical.
Priestly excels as the young movie star trying to shed his heartthrob stigma. The role of Bostock isn’t too different for Priestly, who is trying to shed his Brandon Walsh image. Priestly will be reducing his appearances on “Beverly Hills, 90210” to less than 10 next season to pursue his film career.
Priestly and Hurt develop strange, but believable chemistry on screen. The dialogue and interaction between the two characters creates sharp, witty scenes that allow multiple plot lines to be explored. De’Ath and Bostock couldn’t be further apart on the surface, but underneath they couldn’t be more similar.
The two characters and their interaction make Love and Death on Long Island an amazing and different movie. The lack of action and scarcity of characters is completely overshadowed by underlying stories and plot lines developed smoothly by writer/director Richard Kwietnioski.
Kwietnioski, unknown to American audiences, does a masterful job blending his screenplay with intriguing music and crafty camera tricks.
Love and Death on Long Island’s bizarre nature will not appeal to all audiences, especially Priestly’s teen fans. Generation Xers and adults will appreciate seeing Priestly in a more serious and defined role.
The combination of strong individual performances by Hurt and Priestly and the originality of the screenplay make the film unlike any in recent years.
Love and Death on Long Island is now playing.