Friday, April 04, 2008

The Hawk is Dying

This is an odd, small, but emotionally rich film, based on a novel by Harry Crews. Paul Giamatti plays a man, George Gattling, who is out of step with the world, whose dream is to tame a wild hawk; after a family tragedy, this becomes a singular obsession, which no one around him understands. Gattling's involvement in his own emotions and his weary contempt for the people around him speak of a streak of possibly adolescent, possibly macho romantic individualism in the source text, which the film does nothing to critique; but fuckit, I've got my own streak of possibly macho romantic individualism, and I found The Hawk is Dying moving and honest and fresh. Giamatti's performance is excellent - rougher than his usual range, enough so that he gets tagged as "self-indulgent" by some critics, but, well - critics are assholes, for the most part; this film is worth a look. Dismissed at Sundance, dumped direct to DVD in Canada, with a miserable 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, you can probably pick it up off the PV walls at Rogers for $9.99. You might hang onto it for a second viewing. I might, too.

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