Screen Time: 70%
Age: 17 years old
Directed: James Mangold
Not merely a description of corpulent character Pruitt Taylor Vince, the title refers to the leaden atmosphere hanging over a roadside café and its inhabitants. Writer-director James Mangold finds significance in the details of life, giving this touching story an authenticity that keeps us involved. Liv Tyler brings poignancy to the story as a college dropout who helps awaken the introverted and depressed Vince. Unfortunately, this fascinating character study is too often undermined by direction slow enough to be leaden. Happily, even the most stolid camera work cannot undermine the desires and insecurities of the main character, a man yearning for a full life but too afraid to take a chance.
Movie ReviewsWriter/director Mangold's careful, essentially serious approach puts the characters under the microscope and relies on the performers not to let him down. They don't. Newcomer Liv Tyler is breezy and touching. Vince meanwhile is hugely sympathetic as the shy man daring to reach out, capturing deep depression and tiny everyday acts of courage with meticulous command. A potent, precious first feature, that's distinctive enough to remain long in the mind.