My own affinity towards Big Bad Love is through the writing, the spoken language, something that is already all-too-often dismissed in today’s standards.Actor Arliss Howard additionally accepts the responsibilities of director and script-writer (adapting the short stories of Larry Brown, along with his brother James Howard), rounding things out with his real wife Debra Winger as his ex-wife. The story of the scared, schizophrenic, alcoholic vet doesn’t open the film in an enviable position. Howard uses the dysfunctions as propositions, and though they are afflictions, the ability to dwell on them is avoided with the exception of the visual delusions and stimulations that Howard’s littérateur suffers from; it is there we witness the envisioned conception of his drive, his ideas and his handicaps. That, most importantly, applies his inspiration and explains the pursuit of his dreams (the publishing of his oft-rejected story) at the same time as showing why he is so far away. When being read to, one cannot always appreciate the selection of language (“a pelaton of cyclists”), the formulation of syntax, and the usage of the word. There is a definite playfulness in it all, maybe slightly demented (the hallucinatory DUI tango), but above all, the film is a major success as a modern adaptation of literature. So few movies are able to capture the subtleties of both the written and the spoken word. Howard’s noticeable effort, at times, is a caterwaul to the writer in the individual, hence naturally falling on many deaf ears. Big Bad Love is not a film where the identification with characters are necessary, inasmuch as the triumph is within the literature, but the unromanticized and unflinching humanism is an unexpected bargain in the deal.
With Rosanna Arquette, Paul Le Mat and Angie Dickinson.[Absolutely to be seen.]