DiCillo returns to form in this snapshot of celebrity worship


on August 17, 2007 by Wade Major
Popular indie filmmaker Tom DiCillo makes an auspicious return to form with Delirious , easily his best film since Living in Oblivion in 1995. A prickly look at the poisonous nature of celebrity and the unsavory subculture it breeds around the edges, the film is conspicuously framed around those who live their lives at the fringes: Les Galantine (Steve Buscemi), a skittish, temperamental paparazzo, and Toby Grace (Michael Pitt), a sweet-tempered homeless kid who selflessly ingratiates himself into Les' selfish lifestyle. Room and board in exchange for a full-time assistant at first seems like a neat trick to Les—paparazzi can always use another pair of eyes, ears and hands—but Toby has too much heart to fully embrace Les' sycophantic ways. The celebrities that Les sees as nothing but a meal ticket, Toby sees as kindred spirits, similarly misunderstood, underappreciated and exploited.

But the simmering rift doesn't really go nuclear until circumstance brings Toby together with a mega-popular pop singer named K'Harma Leeds (Alison Lohman), an otherwise simple girl who responds to his shaggy dog ways in kind. But before Toby can move forward with K'Harma, Les will have to be left behind, a relegation that Les—no stranger to shabby treatment—will not readily accept.

DiCillo's meditations on the treacherous canals of fame go back to the beginning of his career— Johnny Suede , Living in Oblivion and The Real Blonde all wrestle with similar issues. But Delirious is the first of his pictures that encapsulates the dilemma in digestible terms. What the other films catch only in glimpses, Delirious snapshots in the kind of close-up that would turn even a real paparazzo red with envy.

Shot entirely on location in New York, with the city's native grit and imported polish embedded under its skin, Delirious can be, at times, more than just a little unsettling in the ways that it conveys, to average people, the excruciating dilemma of living one's life in a fishbowl surrounded by piranhas. But DiCillo is also no cynic—he seems to truly believe that no situation, however dark, is without its ray of sunshine. It's simply a matter of making the effort to find it.
Distributor: Peace Arch
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Gina Gershon, Alison Lohman and Kevin Corrigan
Director/Screenwriter: Tom DiCillo
Producer: Robert Salerno
Genre: Drama
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 107 min.
Release date: August 15, 2007 NY, August 17 LA
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