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Chain Letters1985

  • 2.7
"Life is a river. A very dirty river," one protagonist decrees in Mark Rappaport's last narrative feature before he embarked on a 1990s trilogy of quirky, highly personal documentaries about Hollywood (such as ROCK HUDSON'S HOME MOVIES). Made in Manhattan during the worst early depths of the AIDS epidemic, this LA RONDE-style series of twosomes and threesomes never directly mentions that crisis. But the intricately interconnecting relationships glimpsed in mosaic-like shards here exist in a similarly embattled milieu, an urban war zone: war between the sexes (or perhaps between the urges toward and against any kind of intimacy). With Tin Pan Alley standard "Taking a Chance on Love" as ironic theme song, Rappaport's characters reach out to one another but might get their hand bitten off as thanks. Among them are a Vietnam vet (Mark Arnott) with paranoid hallucinations; an emasculating ex-soap opera actress (Marilyn Jones) whose tender side comes out only when she sees herself in TV reruns; a gay man (Reed Birney) whose involvement with a straight hustler proves more than either of them can handle. As is this singular writer-director's way, the drama is elliptical, the comedy slyly in-jokey and the narrative can run any which way, encompassing a lecture on sharks, campy medical horror, double-team prostitutes and yes, actual chain letters. - Dennis Harvey

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Member Reviews (6)

top reviewer

I'm positive that whoever made this film was seeking a deeper meaning of life. I'm sorry that I did not have the patience with the movie to stick

around to see if they ever found it. There are more stimulating activities to be had - like walking the cat..............

1 member likes this review

personally I loved this film. Super low-key, layered and complex imagery. Absurd scenes that reminded me of something from Derek Jarman. Sort of a punk rock sensibility to it.

did not like too amateurish for my taste!

no I did not love it, it characters were abusive and weak and did the plot.

not my faorite


did not like this film, it was too slow and weak characters.