Coming to theatres this Friday from directors Alan and Gabe Polsky and Polsky Films comes the tale of THE MOTEL LIFE.
This film tells the story of brothers Frank (Emile Hirsch) the storyteller and Jerry Lee Flannigan (Stephen Dorff) the artist, who have been on their own since the death of their mother. An accident has left Jerry with one leg and Frank to take care of him as they go from motel to motel making meager wages.
While driving in the snow one night Jerry hits a teenager on his bike. As if Jerry wasn’t already a mess, now he’s even more so and it puts even more pressure on Frank. Betting on the Tyson fight brings Frank an unexpected cash flow.
But the police are questioning Jerry about the accident and he is panicking. With money and a car they get out of town before the police find them. Making their way to the town of Elko they find a hotel room and Frank looks for the love of his youth Annie James (Dakota Fanning).
It is here Frank comes to terms with what it means to be a good man.
FINAL WORD: Hirsch as Frank is the storyteller and the brother who wants to live a normal life. Feeling responsible for his brother puts his own life on hold drowning everything he fears in bottles of booze. Hirsch does an incredible job narrating the stories Frank creates for his brother Jerry.
Dorff as Jerry is truly a man almost saddened by his own existence. Knowing he is a burden, Jerry is conflicted about living and dying. The connection with his brother is so strong and built on love. This is the second film I have seen with Dorff this year doing an incredible job. The other film is ZATOUN which was released in October, see it if you can.
Fanning as Annie understands the brothers very well. Having come from a home life that is less than stellar herself, she still has strong feelings for Frank. Kristofferson still has a strong presence on screen. As car dealer Mr. Hurley, he sees something in Frank only wanting the best for him. His words are so powerful to the young man mixed with sadness knowing the words fall on young ears.
‘The Motel Life’ is a novel written by Willy Vlautin in 2006 and picked as editor’s choice for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the lead singer of the Oregon band ‘Richmond Fontaine’. Since ‘The Motel Life’ he has also written ‘Northline’ (2008) and ‘Lean on Peter’ in 2010.
Other cast include: Jenica Bergere as Polly Flynn, Shae D’lyn as Claire, Noah Harpster as Al Casey, Joshua Leonard as Tommy, Hayes MacArthur as Officer Cook, Scott MacArthur as Officer Mori, Oren Skoog as Barry Hurley and Nancy Youngblut as Mom.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE MOTEL LIFE three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. The performances in this film are nothing short of superb set in the background of confusion and mistakes made sitting in the bottom of a whiskey bottle.
Both Hirsch and Dorff are heartbreaking to watch but at the same time memorizing! Capturing the essence of their characters in such a way that I teared up without even knowing I was doing it. That’s how intense these characters are and held up by outstanding performances by these two actors.
The animation in the stories is crazy good and adds those moments where the brothers shared their talents with one another. In those moments the connection is so strong between them.
In the end – their life was the greatest story of all.
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