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“Hide Away”: The Anti-“Battleship”

May 31, 2012

Burned by too many summer-movie bummers? In adddition to sleeper smash The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Cannes winner Beasts of the Southern Wild, I’ve found another intelligent alternative for grownup filmgoers. It’s Hide Away, the simple yet powerfully affecting story of an unmoored high-tech businessman (Josh Lucas) who finds solace in restoring a sailboat, and it’s as quiet and understatedly lovely as Battleship is loud and overblown. Plus, it’s almost an hour shorter.

Beautifully directed by indie-movie vet Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins), Hide Away is already available on VOD, but it’s so visually stunning and poetic, it deserves to be seen on a big screen. It’ll receive a limited theatrical release this weekend, including a run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s gorgeous new Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, where Lucas will appear in person with the movie on Friday, June 1 at 7 pm. You can certainly understand why Lucas would want to support this project; it’s his best film role in years—maybe ever.

Lucas is an interesting actor. He seemed poised for major stardom a few years ago, after his breakout work in Sweet Home Alabama and Glory Road, but he’s recently gotten sidetracked in bland good-guy parts (Katherine Heigl’s deadly Life as We Know It, NBC’s flabby adaptation of The Firm). That may be due to his resemblance to Matthew McConaughey, with whom he costarred in last year’s hidden gem The Lincoln Lawyer. But the only generic thing about Hide Away is its title—it was originally and more evocatively called A Year in Mooring when it played the festival circuit—and that includes Lucas’ achingly subtle and lived-in performance.

With its references to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Greek mythology—the boat is named “Hesperus”—Peter Vanderwall’s script grows overly literary and schematic at times; Lucas’ character is known only as “The Young Mariner,” while James Cromwell (Babe) brings just the right amount of salt to his role as, yes, “The Ancient Mariner.” Yet the meditative visuals and flawless performances keep Hide Away smoothly sailing along. And what could be a more refreshing on a hot summer day?

What cinematic ports are you finding in the summer-movie storm? Comment, matey!

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2 Comments
  1. lara hentz permalink

    Reblogged this on lara hentz and commented:
    Chris Eyre- Native adoptee – brilliant filmmaker

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