You enjoy the sights and thrill-a-minute ride but when you get off and try to describe the ride to someone else, it's hard to convey the full impact of the event and all the impact that it had on all your senses. The adventure seeking sense and the intelligence seeking sense as well.
Micheal Douglas. Wow, I thought I knew ya. But I had no idea he could be this loose and carefree and actually CONVINCE ME that he could play that role so well. He really carried the movie with his "let my hair down" acting and his voice-overs. Robert Downey Jr? Previously, his smarmy acting has always annoyed me. But I LIKED his smarmy acting in this movie. That's what his role called for and he was perfect for the character he portrayed. The other actors were good too but these two really shined.
There's a small but revealing moment in this movie. When Micheal Douglas and Toby McGuire are talking, a black and white movie is playing in the background. It's the Picture of Dorian Gray. The part of the movie we hear is ..."There's no such thing as a good influence. All influence is immoral. Why? Because the aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly. That's why we're here for. A man should live out his life fully and completely. Give form to every feeling. Reality to every dream...There's only one way to get rid of temptation and that's to yield to it. Resist it? So goes sick with longing for the things for which it has forbidden itself."
That is what this movie is about. Micheal Douglas denies himself nothing and gives form to every feeling and we get to enjoy the ride with him. Watching him digging for drugs in someone's personal belongings and him swallowing said drug without even trying to figure out what it is. And we get to watch him longing for the one thing that he wants. The one thing which is forbidden to him. The Chancellor's wife. While Micheal Douglas the writer English professor is watching her with longing from afar, his voice-over says (and this is my very favorite part as I am a voracious reader myself) "She was a junkie for the printed word and lucky for me, I manufactured her drug of choice. She loved to read. She read everything. Every spare moment."
This movie is pure seduction for someone like me who loves word play. Yes, one can enjoy this movie purely for the fun adventures and action and there is plenty to be had from beginning to end. Heck, the adventures of Vern (or is it Vernon?) and his pregnant and angelic-looking-Marilyn-Monroe-Jacket-wearing-girlfriend is worth the price of the movie itself. But beware, in the background, there is an intelligent thought and a bigger picture just waiting for you to dig even deeper into.
For every dead dog almost-found escapade, there is Robert Downey Jr. spewing deep thoughts, for every page of the Professor's manuscript that gets tossed to the wind, there is a camera pan at a cover of THE PLAGUE by Albert Camus.
Whereas the Picture of Dorian Gray ends sadly this Wonder of a movie ends happily for all - fitting and appropriate for all the characters involved. I really enjoyed this movie and all it had to offer. I am shocked that no one I knew has ever recommended this movie to me. No wonder they call movies like this Sleeper films. Heck, I LOVED this movie!