Waking the Dead

Director:Keith Gordon
Writer:Robert Dillon
USA Films/Gramercy Pictures; R; 106 minutes
Cast:Billy Crudup, Jennifer Connelly, Molly Parker

Waking the Dead puts a deadly car bomb across its own path early on. This cripples it, for it seems like the entire movie is hindered by the same eerie silence and unknowability that the explosion left in Fielding Pierce's (Billy Crudup) life.

Pierce is an Army man who finds himself falling for an enchanting radical activist (Jennifer Connelly) in the early Seventies. Despite her anarchic idealism and his Senate-bound penchant for slow political process, they become lovers. Waking the Dead intends to walk the line between their conflicting ideologies as it watches an increasingly successful Fielding become consumed with the possibilities that his absent lover represents. (She was a victim of the car bomb.) But some heart seems missing. It may be because a jarring flashback structure keeps the audience off-track and out of the loop. Maybe it's because the mysterious chemistry between Crudup and Connelly is there, then gone, leaving an emotional void that can moodswing into indifference.