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COMMANDMENTS

By admin | April 28, 1997

The prospect of a vendetta between man and his creator provides the fertile basis for a dark drama or a bawdy farce, but here the filmmakers try to synthesize the formats and wind up with a sterile dud.
Aidan Quinn plays the modern day Jobe whose wife vanishes in the benevolent vastness of the ocean and his house, located in the middle of New York City, is destroyed by a finely focused tornado. Homeless and on the edge of madness, Quinn is taken in by his sister-in-law (Cox) and her not so upstanding husband(LaPaglia) where he vows to get even with God by breaking all ten commandments.
The film is undeniably handsome, but unfortunately it never finds its feet even when Quinn addresses such juicy commandments as adultery and murder. The performers try effusively, but they are not given much to work with. Cox and LaPaglia (reminiscent of Alec Baldwin’s working-class brutes in “Married to the Mob” and “Working Girl”) are trapped in the confines of a contrived, dysfunctional marriage, and Quinn’s tormented soul is so loosely defined, that his efforts come off as erratic and at times, unconvincing. What could have been a taught drama that methodically worked it way through the commandments like “Seven” did with the seven-deadly-sins, is more closer to “Touch,” Paul Schrader’s ill fated ideological absurdity.

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