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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

First Snow

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Judy Thorburn

First Snow

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"FIRST SNOW" A MELTDOWN PREDEDES DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

As mortal human beings, if we could possibly learn about our ultimate fate, as to when and how we are going to die, could we do anything to change it? Or is our future already predestined, or like it is said, written in the books? Movies that have tackled that premise are nothing new. But, audiences including myself find it a fascinating subject and I am always interested in seeing where a filmmaker will go with it. Just recently Premonition starring Sandra Bullock explored the subject from a certain angle but didn’t deliver the goods with a cop out payoff ending that destroyed it for me.

First Snow is similar to Premonition in that both stories are about characters that are given a glimpse into their future and then make an attempt to alter it in their favor. Unfortunately, I can’t say I have high recommendations for either film and it has nothing to do with the performances. The actors do the best they can with the material given.

In director/cowriter Mike Fergus’ script Guy Pearce, resembling a gaunt looking Brad Pitt with greasy long hair, gives a strong, believable performance as Jimmy Starks one of those slick, I can sell you anything, type of traveling salesman who has moved up from pushing flooring to a more promising venture, selling vintage jukeboxes with colleague Ed (William Fichtner).

The movie opens with Jimmy stranded in the middle of the New Mexico desert on a roadside area near a motel/bar where his car has broken down and he is waiting for it to be repaired. So far that is nothing out of the ordinary until Jimmy decides to kill some time by paying a visit to a fortune teller named Vacaro (the terrific character actor J.K. Simmons) operating out of a dilapidated trailer nearby. What happens at his reading sets the tone for the rest of the film after Jimmy realizes the psychic’s predications he originally dismissed about a basketball game and a money windfall had come true. With the belief that these were more than just coincidences, Jimmy makes a return visit to the old man where he forces him to reveal information that he was trying to withhold. According to the psychic’s ominous visions that led the fortune teller to refund his fee, Jimmy is told he needs to get his affairs in order because he is going to die, but not before the first snow.

What’s a person to do with this information? Given that Jimmy hasn’t been a very nice guy, is it possible his past has come back to haunt him in the worst way? Pretty live in girlfriend Diedre (a totally wasted Piper Perabo) becomes an afterthought. There are other more important issues to deal with that just might be the death of him. Newly diagnosed with a heart condition and the fact that he chains smokes isn’t a priority. So, first things first. Desperate and fearful about his impending doom, he sets out on a paranoid frenzy seeking redemption from those he screwed, before it is too late. To begin with there is young Hispanic former co-worker Andy (Rich Gonzolez), mad as hell at Jimmy, blaming him for the reason he was fired, and even more threatening is childhood friend and ex-partner Vincent (Shea Wingham) who has just been released from prison and looking to settle the score years after Jimmy helped put him away.

First Snow plays on the notion of whether our actions and choices play a part in the creation of our destiny versus the idea that we can’t escape the inevitable. It is an intriguing concept that deserves better execution. Set in New Mexico, the environment is dreary, cold and unwelcome. I guess that sounds applicable considering the gloom and doom scenario. But add that to a lack of energy and slow pace plus the absence of some significant background information regarding Jimmy’s bad deeds and a credible reason to connect with the character, a jerk one moment and an emotional wreck the next, and the result is a sluggish film missing real substance. By the time the film is over we don’t really care which road he traveled as long as his misery and ours is over.

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