Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Weatherman

Dave Spritz, the central character in The Weatherman, just can't catch a break. He is conflicted, insecure and impotent (in the psychological sense of the term). Throughout the film Spritz seems to be searching for some way to restore dignity and sense to his life. He expects improvement to come from some event or happening; a new, flashier job, love and respect from his father, adoration from his kids or reconciliation with his ex-wife. Spritz believes, like many of us, that the green grass over there is more appealing than his current standing. And, like many of us, he is wrong and doesn't know it.

Nicolas Cage plays Spritz as a sad-sack going through a helluva middle age slump. His children have behavioral problems, his ex-wife distrusts him, his dying father doesn't understand or respect him and his job as a local TV weatherman is unrewarding and dull. Spritz spends much of the film trying to patch these problems, but his efforts are superficial and unsuccessful. Only when he realizes that it is through acceptance, tolerance and understanding does he begin to develop a sense of peace.

Several times during the film Spritz comments on how the weather cannot be truly predicted, that the best one can do is establish some sort of general variance that lets us know how to dress for the day. It is a strong and appropriate metaphor for life. Sometimes knowing whether to put on shorts or slacks is the best we can do.

The Weatherman is a solid, character driven film with terrific acting by Cage and Michael Caine, who is strong in his role as Spritz's father. ***

No comments: