on June 07, 2002 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   Opening with a POV from six feet under and soundbites about the end of the career--and, secondarily, life--of Hollywood's top talent agent shark, Ivan (Danny Huston), this modern-day reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Ilyich" then cuts to a power meeting at which colleagues receive word of Ivan's demise. After the requisite hint of lament for the deceased, drug abuse speculations begin to fly, and then it's a scramble to divvy up his client roster and stop any of the talent from defecting to another agency. Other than that, it's business as usual. Welcome to the world of dog-eat-master, where your protégé is your worst enemy.

   As the film flashes back, we find Ivan eating the competition whole and spitting out the non-beneficial parts. We catch up with him landing the most popular star in the world, Don West (Peter Weller), while at the same time indulging in the alcohol-, drug- and sex-infused lifestyle of the Hollywood elite. One admires the charismatic Ivan's talents while despising his ruthlessness and extracurricular habits.

   Undetected by the audience's senses, morality slithers into the picture when a phone call from a doctor sends the once-indomitable Ivan searching feverishly for a cure for his terminal ailment--and for redemption.

   Huston's multi-dimensional portrayal lures you in like a beckoning ghostly finger as the story unfolds. The subtle blend of the excess of his abstract wild life and the pathos of his basic need to survive leaves the audience melancholy, perplexed and contemplative at the film's fade to black. This indie drama resonantly demonstrates how a person's worth is weighed in a town where you're only as good as your last game. Starring Danny Huston and Peter Weller. Directed by Bernard Rose. Written by Bernard Rose & Lisa Enos. Produced by Lisa Enos. An Artistic License release. Drama. Not yet rated. Running time: 93 min

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