I finally got around to reading this piece, which appeared two weeks ago in the Times. I'd be interested in the list's take. I was frankly a little rankled by its premise: Only European directors know how to film Thompson, supposedly (according to Tavernier) because they see him as a literary artist, and don't play up the pulp at the expense of the "metaphysical elements" which Americans "always leave out."
Admittedly, the American versions cited in the piece fall short, but the writer (Charles McGrath) completely ignores James Foley's AFTER DARK, MY SWEET. Weird omission. I thought it was a great film, a worthy adaptation of Thompson with deft handling of the "metaphysics" -- whatever the hell that's supposed to mean in this context; I take it to mean the psychological and moral subtlety and complexity -- but it was overshadowed by THE GRIFTERS, which came out at the same time. In fact, I almost wonder if McGrath ignored AFTER DARK MY SWEET precisely to handicap the Europeans-Do-Jim-Better canard.
(Foley also did a great job with AT CLOSE RANGE and GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, then apparently had personal problems and made a only few films after that. I've seen FEAR and THE CORRUPTORS, both with Mark Wahlberg, liked both, but neither were as impressive as the earlier stuff.)
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