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Mr. Jones

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Mr. Jones

Starring: Richard Gere, Lena Olin
Director: Mike Figgis
Rated: R
RunTime: 114 Minutes
Release Date: October 1993
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Anne Bancroft, Tom Irwin, Delroy Lindo, Bruce Altman, Lauren Tom, Anna Maria Horsford, Lucinda Jenney, Taylor Negron

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Dragan Antulov review follows movie reviewmovie review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4

Richard Gere is a really great actor, but sometimes his presence of the screen can be really annoying. It usually happens because of his tendency to torpedo many promising roles with his overacting, often inappropriate for the occasion. However, while many conventional roles are simply too conventional for Gere, there are roles that look like a perfect fit for his usual screen personality. Many of those roles deal with some forms of mental illness or deficiency - fertile ground for Academy Awards, judging by the last few decades.

Of all mental illnesses, manic-depressive psychosis (or "bipolar disorder", as refered in modern American medical literature) is probably the most suitable for actors who want to push their limits. While the intellectual abilities of the patients are untouched, that illness is characterised with sometimes sudden, sometimes gradual mood swings that vary between manic euphoria and almost catatonic depression. In this film Richard Gere plays Mr. Jones, one of the people who are suffering from that illness. But when we are introduced to Mr. Jones, we see that he doesn't suffer at all - we are exposed to his manic side, his "highs", and he look like someone who enjoys life more than most of us. Problem is that his euphoric outbursts often lead him to trouble, like when he tries to fly off the construction site, or conduct philharmonic concerto by himself. As an aftermath of those incidents, he is always brought back to psychiatric ward, and medical staff tries to control his condition with various drugs. Doctor Libbie Bowen (Lena Olin) is trying to treat him, but soon she finds that she has more than professional interests in her patient.

British director Mike Figgis has already made reputation by often dark and depressing dramas and thrillers like STORMY MONDAY or INTERNAL AFFAIRS. In MR. JONES, his tendency towards depressive subject was watered down due to the script by Eric Roth and Michael Christopher. Two writers decided to make this film light, despite its serious and potentially very depressive subject. As a result, the audience finds very little about the main character - at least when he has his "bad" days. We also find very little about the nature of the illness itself, and the dilemmas psychiatrists must make when they deal with patients. Finally, in order to make this film as formulaic as possible, we are given unecessary and quite disappointing romantic subplot.

But, it actually doesn't matter much in the end. Richard Gere in this role behaves like a fish in the water and literally chewes the screen with his acting. Of course, his personality overshadowed anyone else, including his partner Lena Olin, but we are still able to notice more than good supporting roles, most notable of them being one played by Delroy Lindo. In the end, film ends predictably, but for most of its 114 minutes, audience isn't bored, mostly thanks to Figgis' capable directing and good production values. Hardly a masterpiece, and nothing more than a solid piece of formulaic Hollywood entertainment, MR. JONES is still the film to be recommended, and not just to Richard Gere fans or those who like melodramas.

Copyright 1999 Dragan Antulov

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