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Waking the Dead (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Dec 11, 2000
Real Name
Steve Gonzales
Wow. I finally got around to seeing Waking the Dead. This is one terrific film. Directed by Keith Gordon (A Midnight Clear, Mother Night) and starring Jennifer Connelly and Billy Crudup, WtD is one hell of an emotionally charged film. The story concerns Fielding Pierce, played by Crudup, a young man with a blue-collar background who has great ambition - he wants to be a politician. This isn't a popular career choice during the film's initial, Vietnam-era setting. Then he meets Sarah, played by Connelly, a beautiful and strong-willed "save the world" type (to put it bluntly). They immediately feel a strong attraction to one another and begin an intense relationship that is troubled only by their differing opinions on how to solve what they perceive to be the problems of the day. Fielding wants to become a politician in order to help people. Sarah believes that politics corrupt everyone involved and prefers to use a more covert approach. Then, several years after their initial meeting, Sarah is killed along with two Chilean protesters - all three the victims of a car bomb. For Fielding, life goes on. The story picks up ten years after Sarah is killed when Fielding is on the verge of becoming a senator. It is then that his past catches up to him. He has never really come to terms with Sarah's death. Imagining that he sees her everywhere, he nearly throws away his election in an attempt to find out if she is still alive. The ambiguous denouement is so emotionally powerful, that I actually had tears in my eyes. It's a rare film that will do that to me anymore. Connelly delivers a terrific performance - she is definitely an actress that has proven herself. Crudup is equally compelling. Watch the scene where he begs for his family's help and tell me he doesn't deserve more recognition. Director Gordon has come a long way since his days as a child actor. A Midnight Clear, Mother Night, and now Waking the Dead. What a resume! Hal Holbrook is fine as usual, portraying Fielding's political mentor. And Ed Harris is seen briefly as a disgraced politician. Check out the deleted scenes on the dvd to see more of his performance - the groveling ex-senator he plays is quite different from his usual tough-guy roles. I'd also like to note the excellent soundtrack which ranges from Rod Stewart to Peter Gabriel to Lori Carson. Quite an eclectic mix and it works. If you haven't seen Waking the Dead yet, do so immediately! I rate it ***1/2 out of ****
My top ten movies that need to be on dvd:
1. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams 2. Freaks 3. Men With Guns 4. The Ninth Configuration 5. The Reflecting Skin 6. Santa Sangre 7. Treasure of the Sierra Madre 8. Voyager 9. White Heat 10. Wings of Desire
[Edited last by SteveGon on November 02, 2001 at 12:43 AM]

Martin Jeeves

Supporting Actor
Oct 18, 2000
I had never heard of this film before until I read something about it on The DigitalBits. This is without doubt, one of those truly great films that is sadly overlooked. I cannot recommend it enough. It is effective, haunting, and unforgettable. Both Jennifer Connelly and Billy Crudup (I was unfamiliar with both) turn in magical performances and have a great chemistry.

Joseph Young

Oct 30, 2001
I have to chime in as well, for this is a favorite of mine.
I agree with your assessment of the film completely. I had the same reaction to this film. The performances are top notch, and Ed Harris's deleted scene is one of his best performances, IMO.
I rented this one on a whim a while back and was just floored by Crudup's performance (both dinner scenes come to mind). This was obviously a labor of love for everyone involved. Needless to say I now own this one. :)
I have to admit that the film gets a little heavy handed and preachy, especially at the end, but there is enough humor, wonderful acting, and genuine emotion that it's easy to ignore the not-so-subtle 'message.'
The whole notion of struggling to stay with someone who's ideologies run counterpoint to your own -- I have been there, and watching this film was actually kind of painful. But the ultimate message is about tempering ambition with decency and courage, about having ideals and tolerating the ideals of others. It's a political movie as much as it is a love story.

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