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Movie Review: The Merry Gentlemen

Alternate Title: Someone To Watch Over me

Story: This is a film for grownups and those that like their films a bit dark, curious and not typical of the usual Hollywood fare. It was directed by Michael Keaton (yes, the Beetle Juice Michael Keaton) and was written by Ron Lazzeretti.

Chicago hit man, Frank Logan is having a midlife crisis. He straddles between thoughts of suicide and living his odd, lonely life. Amidst one of these crisis' he meets Kate Frazier, who has left her abusive husband and moved to Chicago to start a new life. This odd couple start a friendship. Two local policeman, who are investigating these murders and corresponding other occurrences play an ancillary, but important role in the telling of this tale.

The film is peppered with long periods of silence where the movie goer begins to try to figure out what is going to happen next. Most of what I anticipated was going to happen - never happened. I found surprises and charm with each scene.

Good and evil are not so easily identified in this noir tale. Can two damaged people find happiness with one another? Will fate interfere? Bravo to first time director Keaton for this fine, sensitive movie.

Be warned - if you are looking for neat and tidy endings, this film is not for you. Btu there is much to think about and I am still thinking about it three days later.
Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXoJEY6ficY

Acting: Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald as Kate Frazier, is remarkable. She is angelic, innocent and totally believable. Michael Keaton as Frank Logan, is reserved, economic in his portrait and wonderful. Tom Bastounes, Guy Van Swearingen, Darlene Hunt and Bobby Cannavale round out a great ensemble cast.

Trivia: Michael Keaton's real name is Michael Douglas. He decided to change his name when he began acting because there was already a Michael Douglas in movies and a Mike Douglas in broadcasting. While he uses a stage name, he has never legally changed his name to Michael Keaton. He is one of four actors to play Batman (Tim Burton's version). He was originally to play the role of Dr. Jack Shephard in the TV show "Lost" (2004), with the understanding that the character would be killed off early on in the show. Keaton later had to walk away from the part when the creators decided not to kill off the doctor. Matthew Fox ended up playing the character. Kelly MacDonald's other roles have been in The Girl in the cafe, No Country for Old Men, Finding Neverland and Gosford Park.

Predilection: None.

Critters: None

Opening Titles: A fairly long sequence where we meet hit man Logan followed by the titles. We do not see Keaton's name as director until the end credits.

Visual Art: Chicago is starkly cold and dreary in the winter.

Theater Audience: A few Merry Gentlemen and me.

Weather: Brrr, it is cold in Chicago.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: After a while I stopped trying to guess what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours

LOBO HOWLS: 8