Aug 24, 2014

Review: Lulu on the Bridge (1998)

Paul Auster is in fact more of a writer than he is a director. I mean that literally. He's got work that spans from the 80's and onwards about existentialism and the like. I'm not much of a reader clearly because I've never heard of him, but he seems to be pretty decorated if you take a look at his Wikipedia page.

Auster has had some work doing screenplays for movies like Smoke, The Inner Life of Martin Frost as well as story writing credits for some others. Lulu on the Bridge is his first solo directing job and was screened at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Despite having some relative name power from the cast, I don't think Lulu on the Bridge ever got distributed in the United States.


Genre: drama, music, mystery
Directed by: Paul Auster
Produced by: Greg Johnson, Amy J. Kaufman, Peter Newman, etc.
Written by: Paul Auster
Music by: John Lurie, Graeme Revell
Running time: 103 minutes
Production company: Capitol Films, Redeemable Features
Distributed by: Atalanta Filmes, BIM Distribuzione, Pyramide Distribution, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Willem Dafoe, Gina Gershon, Vanessa Redgrave, Mandy Patinkin, Richard Edson, Don Byron, Kevin Corrigan, Victor Argo, Peggy Gormley, Harold Perrineau, Sophie Auster, Greg Johnson



Izzy Maurer (Harvey Keitel), a jazz saxophonist gets shot during a performance in a club. He wasn't the main target but loses one of his lungs as a result of the attack, leaving his musical career in tatters. He sinks into depression before finding a mysterious stone along with a phone number inside of a dead man's briefcase. The number leads him to Celia Burns (Mira Sorvino) who Izzy ends up falling in love with.


Lulu on the Bridge is a weird movie to say the least. It looks at least semi-run-of-the-mill and might even sound like a typical romance movie from my synopsis. It isn't though and that's because of the presence of that strange stone that Izzy finds which can glow blue in the dark. It doesn't just glow blue though, it has some sort of connective power and is for sure why an aging musician and young, aspiring actress get together as a couple in the first place. The stone is a mysterious force and is the reason why Izzy is able to get out of his depression and move on.

One thing's for sure, this is a unique movie. It does drag in certain instances and unfortunately I have to say that the romance scenes between Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino don't feel natural at all. I think it comes down to the dialogue which sounds cold and it ends up making it impossible to really feel anything for their characters' bond.

I actually like how the film ends up developing but the ending? It's a cheap cop out. (Spoilers) The whole "it was a dream" thing whether it be in literature or film is overdone as we all know it. It's the type of ending that could annoy just about anyone and the sad nature of it is lost because of the failure to establish the genuine feelings between Izzy and Celia. (End Spoilers) I still did end up getting pretty engrossed before the disappointing ending so it's not a complete loss.

Performances from Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino are pretty nice and I always love a good Willem Dafoe appearance who is perfectly suited for his character of murky origins. Despite some slow moments, there are the makings of something interesting here. Izzy's transformation could've been explored a bit more and I wish that his relationship with Celia had been done better. It would've given LotB a lot more weight. Oh, the ending should've been cut too.



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