Gloria

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Gloria

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Sidney Lumet's remake of John Cassavetes' 1980 gangster melodrama Gloria is an inexplicable and disastrous mismatch of sensibilities. Even in his best work, such as Faces (1968) or A Woman Under The Influence (1974), Cassavetes never had much use for a plausible or cohesive story, just enough to heighten the emotions to an hysterical pitch. But Lumet, a veteran director behind a long list of classics (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Prince Of The City) and duds (The Wiz, A Stranger Among Us), is too tasteful and earnest by nature to mimic Cassavetes' avant-garde recklessness. His Gloria is staked almost entirely on Sharon Stone, whose aggressive, muscular performance in the title role doesn't so much chew scenery as swallow it whole. Stone plays a foul-tempered former mob mistress who becomes a reluctant guardian to an asthmatic 6-year-old boy (Jean-Luke Figueroa) when her old associates murder his family to retrieve an incriminating computer disk. With the boy in possession of the disk, they flee her sleazy gangster ex-boyfriend (Jeremy Northam) and his team of incompetent thugs. Shapeless, overheated, and spilling over with scenes in which adults say wildly inappropriate things to children, Gloria remains faithful to Cassavetes' spirit. But without his spiky, improvisational touch and grizzled, world-weary regulars—which included, at various times, Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel, and his wife, Gena Rowlands, who originally played Gloria—Cassavetes leaves nothing for Lumet to work with but a crude, unwieldy scrap heap of dramatic clichés.

Filed Under: Film

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