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Levity

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Kirsten Dunst and Holly Hunter
Directed/written by: Ed Solomon

 

 


Normally I adore slow movies that unravel to expose delightful characters riddled with layers of delicate personalities or subtle compassions, but frankly, Levity is just kind of dull. There I've said it. Billy Bob Thornton plays the title character, Manual Jordan, so calmly it could induce sleepy-woo-woo if you're already a bit tired.

Story goes… Manual (BB Thornton) has just gotten out of prison after 21 years. He was in for the mindless murder of a young liquor store clerk whose picture he still carries with him.

You instantly get the feeling died all those years ago on that fateful day as well. He is soulfully remorseful and has condemned himself.

Upon his release, having no place to go, he decides to live in the neighborhood of his past ghosts. He looks up the sister (Holly Hunter) of the man he killed and kind of stalks her. He means no harm, but the whole scenario is a tad creepy. Eventually - in the silliest of meetings - the two develop a physical relationship. It's both cruel and truly not believable- even if she is not aware at the time Manual killed her brother.

Manual goes by the liquor store where he murdered and stares into its windows. As he does the pay phone in the parking lot begins to ring. He answers and meets an odd "preacher" named Miles (Morgan Freeman) who hires him for some mysterious job across town.

The job turns out to be a car lot attendant and fixer up guy for a wayward community center for wayward teens. The spot is across from a Devil's punchbowl of dancing and dating. The late night emporium houses ecstasy dropping rich kids. The Preacher lets the Kids Park for free in his lot provided they listen to a fifteen minutes religious sermon.

Through this automobile club of sinners, Manual meets Sofia, (Kirsten Dunst). She eventually starts to blossom as a human through all her oh-so-typical- youth angst act. Who cares? We should but Levity is just too monotonous, too dead pan, and all Manual's meetings and sad "friendships" continually seem unlikely and never develop enough for us to grasp on to emotionally our selves.

Loved the concept the technical direction and the premise but people are more complicated then director /writer Ed Solomon paints them. He asked us to watch slowly and learn but he left out the details and the realistic hues that paint well-defined characters an audience will follow.

Snack recommendation: Vegetable soup and unsalted saltines


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