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Waking the Dead

This strange, beguiling work from Keith Gordon, one of America's more ambitious and idiosyncratic film-makers (The Chocolate War, Mother Night), was written by Robert Dillon (The River) from a novel by Scott Spencer. In précis it sounds like the worst kind of potboiler - and this straight to small screen UK release is being marketed as a romance, pure and simple. 1972: Fielding is a young man brought up to entertain serious Presidential ambitions, but he falls headlong for an unsuitably radical and outspoken chick, Sarah, who dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances. Ten years later, on the verge of getting into Congress, Fielding keeps seeing his lost lover. Is this a ghost, or didn't she die after all? Or maybe he's losing his mind? The timeshift structure and an arresting jump cut style preserves these ambiguities to the end. You can see it as straight melodrama or nightmarish black comedy; either way Gordon teases out questions about the extent our destinies are shaped by others, the clash between personal obligations and social ambitions (even responsibilities), and the limits and possibilities of romantic love. The way the consummately groomed Billy Crudup unravels before our eyes - then puts himself back together again - is absolutely extraordinary.

Release details

Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Keith Gordon
Screenwriter: Robert Dillon
Cast: Billy Crudup
Jennifer Connelly
Molly Parker
Janet McTeer
Paul Hipp
Sandra Oh
Hal Holbrook
Bill Haughland
Nelson Landrieu
Ed Harris
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