Sometimes a decent script comes along, and it just happens to fall into the wrong director’s hands. This happens to be the case with 2005′s Heights, the feature film debut of Chris Terrio. The film is based on the play by Amy Fox (she adapted it for film as well).
Diane (Glenn Close) is a superstar actor living the pretentious life of a New York Shakespearean actor. While casting for her new stage production, Diane gets a crush on the Julliard trained, aspiring actor Alec (Jesse Bradford). Jesse just happens to live in the same building as Diane’s daughter Isabel (Elizabeth Banks), who lives with her fiance, Yale educated attorney Jonathan (James Marsden). The film covers just twenty four hours of these people’s lives. Due to circumstances beyond their control, the characters are forced to choose what sort of life they want to live. They can change, or continue to live in quiet desperation, satisfied with ‘good enough.’
The problem with the film, isn’t the script, which was relatively well written. The ensemble cast was fantastic. Glenn Close is an acting tour de force as always, and the younger, less experienced actors were fun to watch as they excelled in their roles. The problem was with Terrio’s direction. Terrio took everything much too seriously. He doesn’t allow the viewer to decide how he or she feels about what’s going on. The tension is shoved down our throats thanks to the incredibly over-dramatic soundtrack and the never ending scenes where the characters stare importantly (and wordlessly) into each others eyes. While the film provides decent entertainment, it shouldn’t be considered much more than a good popcorn flick. The final scene did provide quite the shock, however, and while you could sort of see what it was building up to, the shock isn’t lessened one bit. It’s worth a rental just to watch the last 15 minutes.