Blue in the Face (1995)
Studio: Echo Bridge Entertainment/Miramax
Theatrical Release: October 13, 1995
DVD Release: January 10, 2012
Review by Raymond Velez
I love art films. They do things for you that Hollywood will never do. They express real thoughts, opinions and feelings. I love Hollywood as much as the next guy but they rarely deliver something that hits the soul. Blue in the Face didn’t tap into my soul by any means. But it still offered something that I rarely see in films.
Directors Wayne Wang and Paul Auster offer very little plot in this film. But in exchange we get great acting and great dialogue. Not to mention a talented cast of actors that include Harvey Keitel and Michael J. Fox. The film takes place in Brooklyn; more specifically, a cigar shop. The film runs very similar to Do The Right Thing. We get random cuts to unknown characters that speak on ideas that may or may not relate to the last scene. While this may throw off some, a film geek such as myself finds it refreshing and even important. Unlike Do The Right Thing, the film doesn’t really have much rising plot. Therefore, there isn’t much of a climax.
Harvey Keitel is solid in everything. Blue in the Face is no exception. He isn’t given very much to work with but still makes his presence know. When there’s a threat of his shop closing, Keitel is perfect in showing how important his store is not only to him but the neighborhood as well. The opening hook in this film is a perfect example as to why it is important to the community. Even Roseanne is a scene-stealer when the camera is focused on her. Her chemistry with Keitel is surprisingly there. Michael J Fox doesn’t do much character acting but shows that not only should he have done more when he had the chance but how good of an actor he could have been had tried it. He’s funny in this and doesn’t apologize for it.
This film is made to show that unity, passion and emotion are everywhere. Even in “Do or Die Bed-Stuy”. Even though I was hoping for more of a plot, the film never lost me because the characters were so interesting. I’m sure they were written very well and portrayed even better than directors Wang and Auster could have hoped. This film is one of the rare times that you can just watch great actors act. Even if you’re waiting for something to happen.