6/10
Not a lot to show for so much talent
5 May 2004
With so much talent aboard this could have been great cinema. That it's not is due to an unsure screenplay, lacking in credibility, though not lacking in promise. The story in itself, if tightened up, could have been riveting. But despite the actor's efforts, "Albino Alligator" fails to deliver the goods. By the end (which in itself is powerful), one has become a bit tired of it all.

Spacey was obviously drawn to the clear theatricality of much of the action taking place on one set, in effect on one stage. It's hence very talky and stagy, though Spacey is careful to keep the camera moving in interesting ways. The few outdoors scenes too are shot with great visual style. Combining a keen eye, together with his understanding of actors and acting, Spacey will probably at some point bring his directorial talents to fruition. Hopefully he will be more fortunate as far as a suitable screenplay is concerned.

Matt Dillon in the lead does a fair job. As is often the case with him, he manages some moments of excellence, but on the whole is capable rather than brilliant. (He sustained an exceptional performance is the "Saint of Fort Washington" and surprised many with "Drugstore Cowboy".). It's as if there is a depth to him which he seems to have a lot of trouble reaching. There is a brief scene in "Albino Alligator" in which he talks to himself in a facing mirror. It's a moment which reveals those depths which so often seem to elude him.

The other players do as well as one would expect. Gary Sinise is superb as Dillon's elder brother, William Fichtner is truly edgy and sinister and Faye Dunaway's bartender has a ring of truth to it.

Despite all this talent and a story with possibilities, this is not one to seek out.
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