An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis
Can you resist a
movie that opens with this sentence: “The
summer my father was depressed, the face of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared on a
tortilla at the Morning Glory Café?” Be warned that appreciation of
“Off the Map” also requires a weakness for such sights as the tall
mast of a sailboat moving slowly behind a sand dune in the
Is this a drama?
Then why are you laughing? A
comedy? Yes, but you might be the
only one laughing from time to time, as I was, when I saw the sailboat.
Whatever it is, just settle in to enjoy the dead-on rhythm of the
players. Director/producer Campbell
Scott has enlisted a cast perfectly suited to delivering what he intends.
They all get the joke.
This is the story of
an extended family living happily in the desert and of the IRS man who comes to
find out why they haven’t filed a return in seven years.
It is a delicious understatement to say this family is not driven by
d’Angelis) is an adolescent living with her mother and father somewhere near
On the day that IRS
agent William Gibbs finds the family after a four day trip over the desert,
Arlene is working in her garden as she best likes to be:
naked. In one of those
marvelous sprinklings of fairy dust, Mr. Gibbs sinks into the family aura,
becoming a full-fledged eccentric on first exposure.
Bo’s comment: “Someone who I perceived as a link to the outside world
had in fact been swallowed by mine.” Credit
Joan Ackermann with this magical script.
You will remember
Mr. Gibbs in his polyester tie and boxer shorts as he and Charlie talk through
the night saying much in few words. The
movie is a wily metaphor for our convention bound lives.
What a relief to spend time with a family that doesn’t waste a second
worrying about anything or planning for the future.
Don’t try to figure this one out.
Just go. If you have to look
for it, you’ll be glad you did.
NOTE: “Off the Map was first screened for critics in 2003.”
After being stuck inexplicably for two years in the distribution network,
it has now opened officially for your viewing delight.
Copyright (c) Illusion
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