FUGITIVE PIECES Directed by Jeremy Podeswa. 106 minutes. Opens Friday (May 2). Rating: NN
Three features in, I think it’s safe to say that Jeremy Podeswa is a much more interesting filmmaker when he’s directing TV series like Six Feet Under, Rome or Dexter than when he’s working on something he really cares about. When he has enough time to develop a project, he tends to bury it in portent and pretense.
Fugitive Pieces is an easier film to watch than Podeswa’s previous features, Eclipse and The Five Senses, largely because it’s built around strong performances by Stephen Dillane, as a deeply damaged writer, and Rade Serbedzija as the archaeologist who rescued him from the Nazis as a boy and smuggled him to relative safety in Greece.
The film flits, Egoyanesque, between the archaeologist’s WWII gamesmanship and the adult writer’s life in an unconvincing 1960s and 70s Toronto.
But talented actors can’t keep Podeswa from getting in his own way, and nothing can save the strangely abrupt final movement, in which the narrative builds to a big dramatic finish that never comes. The weird thing is, it paid off in Anne Michaels’s novel... and in the cut of the film that played at TIFF last fall.
Read an interview with FUGITIVE PEICES director Jeremy Podeswa here.