Combustible Celluloid
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With: David Arquette, Brad Hunt, Cathy Moriarty, Kathryn Erbe, Patrick McGaw, J.E. Freeman, Allyce Beasley
Written by: Finn Taylor, Jeffrey D. Brown
Directed by: Finn Taylor
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong language, some drug content and sexuality
Running Time: 97
Date: 06/20/1997

Dream with the Fishes (1997)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Passionless 'Fishes'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I don't exactly know what to do when presented with a movie like Dream With the Fishes. The movie, about two unlikely friends, one a suicidal voyeur, the other a dying junkie, is well done, in its druggy, inky sort of way. It's well acted, and the dialogue didn't insult me. But at the same time, I felt like I'd seen it all before.

I hate to just leave it like that, but that's what I felt. Writer-director Finn Taylor is apparently a fan of 60's and 70's movies like Harold and Maude and Midnight Cowboy that are gritty and quirky, but still seem to come from real life. Dream With the Fishes just seems to come from other movies. And even worse, it doesn't pick up on any of the freshness or inspiration of the 60's and 70's. It seems rooted in a safe 80's and 90's kind of filmmaking, where no real chances are taken and everything neatly falls into its place.

That's what Dream With the Fishes is missing; courage. It's afraid to really put its characters on the line or give us any new ideas. It's too bad, because the artists working on the film, from the cinematographer, to the actors (especially Cathy Moriarity, who has one of her best roles since Raging Bull) seem to be putting a lot of heart into their work. Somehow, it all just gets stuck behind the screen before it reaches the audience.

Best Buy Co, Inc.