Monday, 23 August 2010

Auto Focus (2002)

This otherwise excellent biopic on the notorious life of Hogan's Heros star Bob Crane shows how an ending coming out of left field totally derails a movie.

Ten minutes before the final credits, after Crane has been discovered to have been beaten to death in an Arizona hotel room, director Paul Schrader moves heaven and earth to link the homicide to former public school teacher Arthur Leigh Allen (John Carroll Lynch). There are a lot of confusing references to lakes and astrology signs, as well as a lengthy monologue about an unseen "painting party" that the star supposedly attended in 1962.

Who knows? Maybe the fault lies with the source material, the biography by Robert Graysmith. Still the last bit, where the wisecracking San Francisco detective and the nerdy cartoonist brandish some strange looking watch as final proof of their theory (I couldn't bear to rewatch to get the name) is simply too much.

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