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USA 1984
Directed by
Alan Rudolph
106 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Choose Me

Choose Me opens with a crane shot of patrons leaving a late night bar as nearby street hookers ply their favours and Teddy Pendergrass croons contemporary soul on the soundtrack.  It’s a typical enough '80s style approach to what feels very much like an adapted stage play (the street setting is clearly a sound stage) – a contrived set-up through which writer-director Rudolph lays on us a cool trip about sexual desire and its constant urges.

Keith Carradine plays Mickey,  recently discharged from a mental institution, who arrives in town and goes to an old haunt, Eve's Lounge. The original Eve is gone and replaced by a new one (Lesley Ann Warren), a former hooker who specializes in bad relationships and rings up a late night call-in radio show featuring  Dr. Nancy Love (Genevieve Bujold) to spill her worries.  Little known to her, Dr. Love is in fact her new housemate.  Also hanging at the bar is  Pearl (Rae Dawn Chong), whose husband Zack (Patrick Bauchau) is having a fling with Eve. Mickey gets involved in all their lives.

Choose Me is the kind of film that slides in and out of coherence, at times seeming to say something of interest before stumbling into the bathetic.  Characteristic enough of Rudolph it’s a stylized affair, but as a portrait of lost souls stumbling their way through the lonely night, one can imagine it working on stage better than it does on screen, the datedness of the production style being more apparent now than presumably it was in its day. The cast are solid, with Rudolph's favourite lead male Carradine’s unflappable presence holding the rambling. talky affair together but even so it’s not a film that does much more than serve as a warm-up for the neo-noir stylings of Rudolph's 1985 re-hash, Trouble In Mind.




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