Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Digging To China (1998)

Digging to China stars Kevin Bacon as a mentally challenged man who befriends a very young Evan Rachel Wood. I can't really remember why I put this on my Netflix Queue oh so long ago - but it was unavailable for years. When it finally moved from the "saved" section to the "available" section, I fronted it to the top of the list. It was a long sought after film so I was expecting something brilliant. It wasn't really.

Evan Rachel Wood was very good and it's clear why she's been able to keep the career ball rolling. Her character was also quite endearing, a young dreamer make-believing her way out of a dysfunctional, small town 1960's life. There were times when her relationship with Kevin Bacon's Ricky really worked. Moments of clarity when Ricky realizes one day she'll grow up and he won't. But for the most park, Ricky just doesn't work as a character.

The biggest problem was that Kevin Bacon is Kevin Bacon. His performance was fine but I couldn't see past the fact that it's Kevin Bacon. It feels like a strange imitation of mental disability and he's Kevin Bacon. (How many times can I say Kevin Bacon in one post?) The character's disability is on par with that of Leonardo DiCaprio's Arnie in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, however Leo was so young in that roll and he looked so different when he hit it big a few years later, that Arnie isn't clouded by the recognizeability of the A-list celebrity who is playing the part. (Or maybe Leo just did it better...)

In many ways this movie almost worked. Plot-wise, it was intriguing but there were too many grand,life changing moments that were only grazed over. This could have been overlooked had the Ricky/Harriet relationship worked a bit better but alas. We go skipping across the surface of this film without ever diving under the water and it truly was a disappointment.

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