Niagara, Niagara
Director: Bob Gosse. Cast: Henry Thomas, Robin Tunney, Michael Parks, Stephen Lang, John MacKay. Screenplay: Matthew Weiss.

Niagara, Niagara is a road movie that doesn't need to be one, and, even more disappointingly, a movie that wants to examine the details and trials of a particular affliction but cannot finally resist becoming a pat, reductive Issue Film. Director Bob Gosse and screenwriter Matthew Weiss, both new to the screen (and obviously so) launch two troubled twenty-somethings (Henry Thomas and Robin Tunney) out of their tin-can town and into a long search for mutual understanding (which they achieve remarkably quickly) and greater societal acceptance (which they can never reasonably hope to achieve). Enlivened for the most part by Tunney's tricky performance as a sufferer of Tourette's Syndrome, and by Thomas's truly disturbing, sallow mooniness—he looks like one of the suspects in Paradise Lost: the Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, though that can hardly have been the intended effect—the film, unfortunately, is the kind of inept affair that yields most to clichés when it believes it is making its strongest statements. Grade: C

Venice Film Festival: Best Actress (Tunney)

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