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Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Canada

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The Dying Gaul

Chris Campbell

The Dying Gaul
Take the million, write something else.

I don't know what it is, but it seems that if Patricia Clarkson is in a film, there is a strong possibility that I'll like it. She's one of the main actors in The Dying Gaul and she delivers another layered and nuanced performance. The Dying Gaul is based on a play by Craig Lucas and the film is also his film directing debut. It's an impressive debut and while the film has the focused characterization and simple locations of a play, it's very cinematic and I think that I'd like the film more than the play. The film is gorgeous with wonderful performances all around. It's a complicated, noirish story that doesn't lapse into formula. I'm glad that I knew very little about the film as it moved around in interesting and surprising ways.
The film revolves around a screenwriter played by Peter Sarsgaard. The writer is offered a deal to have his script developed by a studio executive played by Campbell Scott. The only catch is that the writer has to change the character based on his lover to a woman. I thought that the film was about this moral dilemma, but that only kicks things off. We watch as the power shifts between the characters in unexpected ways. It was gripping and surprising and I loved how it told the story visually. Most people will see it on DVD which is a shame since it's a beautiful film to see in a theatre.