The Dying Gaul
DIRECTOR: Craig Lucas | WRITER: Craig Lucas | CAST: Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott , Patricia Clarkson | USA
The Dying Gaul is meretricious middlebrow tripe masquerading as a tense psychological noir thriller. Craig Lucas’ screenplay, based on his play, is little more than a plot outline with some mostly dull dialogue attached to it, the outline so unrealized that the characters and situations have no life, and there are Chekhov’s guns strewn about willy-nilly. (Will someone please buy Lucas an AK-47 already?) There’s some inane “Buddhist” mumbo-jumbo and a recreation of 1995 Internet chat rooms that is even less authentic looking than Sandra Bullock’s online experiences in The Net which looked fake in 1995, along with shopworn anti-Hollywood attitudes and a generous helping of adulterous bisexual sex. And an irritating Steve Reich soundtrack. The actors do about as well as they can with what they were given but it just wasn’t enough. That I can’t tell whether Robert (Peter Sarsgaard) is meant to be shallow and not very bright or not is a problem. Either he’s stupid and the fault is Lucas’ for not making that clear, or…”Thou are Buddha” indeed.