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The Man From Elysian Fields (R)
Official Site
Director: George Hickenlooper
Producers: Andy Garcia
Written by: Philip Jayson Lasker
Cast: Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Mick Jagger, Olivia Williams, James Coburn

Rating: out of 5

The Man From Elysian Fields surrounds the plight of struggling author Byron Tiller (Garcia). After one failed novel and the publisher’s reluctance to take on his second, Tiller is forced to turn to other means for income. He becomes involved with an escort agency run by Mr. Luther Fox played by none other than Mick Jagger. As the movie progresses, Tiller gets involved with client Andrea Allcott (Williams), wife of Pulitzer Prize winner author Tobias Allcott (Coburn). As his involvement with the couple deepens, his marriage to wife Dena (Margulies) begins to fall apart.

Unfortunately The Man From Elysian Fields is a less than engaging story with sporadic moments of insight. It seems full of implausibility, especially with Tiller using weak excuses for his daily trips to the Allcott’s residence. His wife sits pining for him at home and comes off as a flat and unbelievable character. As the marriage crumbles, we feel little sympathy for either of the characters.

The main problem with the movie is the trite storyline. Tiller finds himself in an extraordinary situation, which gets more unlikely and improbable as time goes by. He is enlisted by Allcott to co-author his latest book, but of course such an opportunity isn’t all it seems. In the end Tiller is left with no credit for a book that he mostly wrote.

The strength of the movie is definitely in its acting. Even though the likes of Coburn et al. are let down by the storyline and script they manage to give great performances. Garcia is likeable as the downtrodden Tiller, and Williams and Coburn are wonderful as the strange literary couple. Even Mick Jagger is surprisingly good as the retiring escort service owner.

All in all The Man From Elysian Fields is an average movie which leaves little for intelligent viewers to chew on. It stumbles with slow pacing and a storyline that should be relegated to an episode of “The Red Shoe Diaries.”

—Priti Ubhayakar


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