Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Movies Worth a Look: Dolan's Cadillac

I know everyone's probably way ahead of me, but if not, here's a flick to check out.

I haven't read the Stephen King short story Dolan's Cadilac from the Nightmares and Dreamscapes collectionbut the title rang a bell a while back when the movie adaptation popped up as a Netflix recommendation. I added to my queue and settled in to watch it recently.

At first blush, the film looks like a standard issue crime drama. It centers on one of those happy middle class couples who run afoul of criminals. There's the intense Wes Bentley (Robinson), of American Beauty and Ghost Rider,  and Emmanuelle Vaugier, from the Saw movies and more. They're school teachers. She's trying to get pregnant.

Unfortunately, while horseback riding, Elizabeth (Vaugier) happens upon Dolan (Christian Slater) and his crime crew. They ride around in Dolan's black and ominous Caddy SUV.

Moving the plot
Dolan's chief criminal activity is smuggling young women for the sex trade. A failed ventilation system in a truck has caused deaths and leads to additional murders while Elizabeth is watching.

She's soon targeted by Dolan and his existential sidekick played by Greg Bryk, also of Saw films. Mild spoiler here: 

 They kill her, and the devastated husband sets out for revenge.

That's where the spoiling stops, and where the film, realizing what I suspect is the meat of the King source material takes off.

Soul searching, confrontation and the execution of an ingenious plan unfold with surprises and subtext that you don't find in routine crime dramas or many direct-to-video flicks.

Christian Slater is at his over-the-top best as Dolan, who's devilish and intelligent, and Bentley's capacity of deep darkness is perfectly utilized.

A couple of minor characters who play a role in Robinson's resurrection also add flavor, and Bryk's  complex lieutenant is much greater than a typical henchman walk-on.

Is it perfect? Meh. Is it without implausibility? Well no, but it's all well-executed and enriched by character and explorations of grief, torment and even spirituality.

If you're going in cold, it's particularly entertaining and probably worthwhile as a watch-instantly choice if you've read the story.

Watch the trailer below, but know it spoils some surprises before you click: 


Charles Gramlich said...

I did read taht story. It was pretty good, though a bit mainstream for my tastes. I can see how it might make for a good film though.

Sidney said...

Yeah, it kind of, sorta reminds me of "The Ledge," if that's the name of the one from the Night Shift collection. That one reminds me of Contents of A Dead Man's Pockets.

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