By Admin | September 30, 2003

Okay, look. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of adapting a short story or novel, especially if, as in this case, it’s a piece of work by Kafka, you should at least make sure that you adapt enough of the work for the film to make sense. Someone must have forgotten to pass along that little nugget of information to directors Morgan Currie and Philip Scarborough, as “The Country Doctor” is about as myopic as a blind umpire.
Here’s what I can tell you: The Doc (Jesse Elam), a skinny, brooding, chain-smoking grouch, is watching a documentary on chicken farming when he receives a call from his hospital, asking him to make a house call. Trouble is, his car is broken down. Enter a Mysterious Stranger, wearing the foppish garb of the Victorian era, who hits on the doctor’s maid before dropping off a car for the befuddled physician to use. And not just any car, mind you, but a Continental Mark V behemoth, which the doctor uses to answer his call.
He arrives at a rundown shack occupied by what appears to be a family of inbred hillbillies, and finds the eldest son lying near death in bed. When the mother rebuffs the doctor’s attempts to write a prescription, the doc allows himself to be stripped down to his skivvies and eased into the bed next to his patient. Eventually, he removes something from his patient’s gut…which he then feeds to the chickens. Ooo, get it? That’s so deep. No, that COULD have been deep…possibly…maybe…okay, I doubt it, even if this had been told with far more skillful storytelling abilities than are on display here. Instead, this confusing, nonsensical, distasteful, head-scratching mess was about as intelligible as a doctor’s handwriting. Somewhere, Kafka is pissed.

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