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  New Century of Cinema


DOWSE Guide to the Movies
by Tony Lee editor of Pigasus Press

Felicia's Journey

Director: Atom Egoyan
111 minutes (12) Icon DVD Region 2 review by Gary Couzens

Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) is a young Irish girl who arrives in Birmingham to look for her boyfriend, by whom she is pregnant. She meets Mr Hilditch (Bob Hoskins), a lonely eccentric catering manager who is not what he first appears...
  Based on William Trevor's novel, Felicia's Journey is a slow burning, though stylishly made psychological thriller. If director Egoyan's earlier films tended towards the cerebral and cold, from Exotica onwards he has moved towards retaining his distinctive style (notably his use of time-sequence and video inserts) while engaging a wider audience. Felicia's Journey isn't on the same level as The Sweet Hereafter, which was simply one of the best films of the last few years, but it's no disgrace as a follow-up and well worth a look. Egoyan makes good use of Birmingham locations - it shows how little used the place is as a film location, compared to other British cities. The Irish scenes are more familiar, though still well done. Bob Hoskins is not good casting as a Brummie, though he does a good job as the kindly bachelor with a dark side. Elaine Cassidy conveys Felicia's combination of na´veté and determination, and Arsinée Khanjian (the director's wife and frequent leading lady) has an amusing role as Hilditch's mother, a professionally French TV chef.
  The DVD has a Dolby Surround soundtrack and a director's commentary, but that's it - no trailer, and the lack of English subtitles is regrettable. Also, the film, shot in widescreen 2.35:1, is panned and scanned. Why? It's clear that it's framed so that it can be cropped for a full-frame TV showing, but that's hardly the point.

Gary Couzens
originally published online in VideoVista #20, November 2000 issue

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