The Man from Elysian Fields

"OK"

The Man from Elysian Fields Review


James Coburn is just great in The Man from Elysian Fields, one of his final performances before recently succumbing to a heart attack. As a dying, once-great novelist, the veteran actor displays a combination of fire and vulnerability that makes him a riveting presence.

Unfortunately, such generous adjectives can't be used for Elysian, which has a promising premise but does little of interest with it. Andy Garcia plays Byron Triller, a struggling novelist who has mounds of trouble supporting his young family. Out of luck and out of nowhere, Byron meets a mysterious, upscale pimp, Luther (Mick Jagger), who thinks Byron would be an ideal addition to his escort service.

Byron is initially reluctant, but he's soon regularly dating the beautiful wife (Olivia Williams) of great novelist Tobias Alcott (Coburn). Alcott understands that he can't satisfy his wife anymore and accepts Byron. Soon after, he learns of Byron's other profession and asks Byron to evaluate his manuscript. That opportunity begins a chain of events that affects Byron's personal and professional life, especially his relationship with his supportive and somewhat oblivious wife (Julianna Marguiles).

The acting in Elysian is solid, especially from Coburn as well as Jagger -- who seems to have been born for this role. Coburn and Garcia also have some great scenes together, showing the passion writers have for their work. But Phillip Jayson Lasker's script lets everybody down. Byron's decision to alter his lifestyle is handled with about as much urgency as if he was buying a new pair of loafers. You're never fully convinced that he's risking anything. The filmmakers also ruin Luther by briefly chronicling his love affair with a client (Anjelica Huston in a pointless role). Their two scenes go a long way in destroying the influence Luther has on Byron, as well as puncturing his persona as a mysterious lothario. Lasker probably wanted to prove a point about the perils of fidelity but it deflates any on-screen sexiness (which is oddly lacking to begin with).

Enjoying Elysian takes a pretty big leap of faith, but the sense of convenience eventually becomes smothering. The ending feels overwhelmingly phony, considering the string of struggles that continue to befall Byron. Hasn't the guy suffered enough already? A movie at its best is a form of virtual reality; it's a representation of another world. At about the 80-minute point in Elysian, we see how the strings are pulled. Suddenly, hackneyed events take place that seem done solely to drum up emotions and to get the best possible ending. Marguiles's character suddenly gets a backbone, Williams's character does an about face that comes straight from a soap opera and Byron gets one step closer to living in a dumpster. And there's more after that.

I would have enjoyed Elysian more if the filmmakers had tried to ease off the dramatic fireworks and just let the characters and their dilemmas naturally progress. By the end, we don't feel as if we know the people or what they've endured. All we know for sure is that Coburn will be missed.

Pull harder.



The Man from Elysian Fields

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 28th November 2002

Box Office USA: $1.3M

Distributed by: Fireworks Pictures

Production compaines: TVA International, CineSon Entertainment, Fireworks Pictures, Gold Circle Films, Pfilmco, Shoreline Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 36 Rotten: 34

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Byron, as Luther, as Dena, as Andrea, as Jennifer Adler, as Alcot

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.