Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel


First movie directed by Gary Sinise, the co-founder of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He later played "Father" in the 1991 film "A Midnight Clear," then got raves for playing the legless grump in "Forrest Gump."

First produced script by Chris Gerolmo whose second scenario was for " Mississippi Burning." Stars Richard Gere, Penelope Ann Miller, Judith Ivey and several Steppenwolfers, including Kevin Anderson, Laurie Metcalf, Tery Kinney, Moira Harris, John Malkovich.

Years after Brian Dennehy's Farm of The Year in Iowa had been visited by Kruschchev, and after Dennehy's death, his sons Gere and Anderson run it with skill and love, but eventually get foreclosed.

Gere gets violent with his his old childhood pal, now a banker, then, as a protest sets fire to the farm, helped by his semi-reluctant brother. The pair run off, Gere steals a cop's revolver, the fugitives become local heroes. They somehow go through a succession of pickup trucks and cars, get some money from a Rolling Stone interview, abort a bank robbery because of the unwiling Anderson, have respectively a short affair with Ivey and a serious one with Miller.They finally split up.

Gere, sullen, drinking too much and ever violent behaves in unbalanced fashion, pretty outrageously for a hero, as though he were conflicted between his good-Gere and his bad-Gere image. This populist road movie tends to over-melodramatize him as well as matters in general. Its way of lingering on the beauty of the farmlands recall sa scaled-down "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Grapes of Wrath."

The passive Anderson and especially the unstable Gere evoke no sympathy. Yet the film does get some good effects from its low-budget simplicity. The short sequence with Ivey is touching. Four-fifths into the story there is a wonderful, privileged sequence of the brothers harvesting corn for a friendly farmer. Its lyrical images are fairly close to those of Nestor Almendros in the superb 1978 "Days of Heaven."

Many of those scenes are done without dialogue but with the strong support of the ever-effective music of Aaron Copland ( "Appalachian Spring"). It grips you, as does its tie-in with the New Deal documentaries where the score had been used. Copland's "The Promise of Living" is also heard.

Copyright © Edwin Jahiel

Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel