Author(s): D.W. Dillon
"The Thin Rope"
Directed by Barbet Schroeder
Written by Don Roos
Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
Edited by Lee Percy
Music by Trevor Jones
Tom Cruise as Ben Roark
Dana Delany as Dominique Roark
Nikki Blonsky as Macy Roark
Edward Furlong as Kevin Keating
James Cromwell as Ellsworth Keating
Tagline: "You have to dig deep to rise up"
Synopsis: Kevin Keating (Edward Furlong) was an uninspired sort. He found irony in his work as a roller coaster attendant. Here he was; in charge of so many lives, strapping in thrill seekers for 25 seconds of fleeting joy, while his entrepreneurial father Ellsworth Keating (James Cromwell), founder of Fountain Land Theme Park and Resort, looked down on him as the underachieving and embarrassing son whom he wish he never had. On the day of the inaugural launch of the much anticipated roller coaster, "The Brave", Kevin Keating couldn't be any less impressed. A monstrosity on so many levels, he would give a quick tug on the seat restraints, press the launch button, turn his back, light a smoke, look down at the inglorious 8 hour waiting line and chuckle.
Ben Roark (Tom Cruise), chief designer of many record setting roller coasters, set his sights high and bold with his new creation of "The Brave". 523 feet high-accelerating to 150 miles per hour in 3 seconds with a max vertical of 90 degrees, far exceeding it's expectations as the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world. Inspired by his daughter Macy (Nikki Blonsky) and her battle with obesity and diabetes, he would put his life's work into bringing her joy. "The Brave" was his gift to her. On the day of the inaugural launch, Ben and his doting wife Dominique (Dana Delaney) took their queue in the first two seats of "The Brave". They glanced below to notice the thousands waiting in line, then shifted to look back and find his daughter in the seat behind him smiling.
Kevin Keating's fall into the world of catatonia may have been fueled by his father's distaste in his own son, but would reach its peak after his failed suicide attempt using his own shoelaces as the weapon of choice. It would break and so would his mind, landing him in Bellevue's psychiatric ward, where he would be under constant watch and care, spare no expense by his father. His only visitor was a man he never really knew. A man who had even more distaste in him than the prestigious Ellsworth Keating. Mr. Ben Roark, with all the anger, hatred, and guilt would sit in the ward's rec room with Kevin, stacking blocks as high as they could trying in someway to connect with him. Ben could never hold back the tears and Kevin could do nothing but look up in a daze. The path that had brought both of them here was a tragic one. Kevin's irresponsibility had cost the life of Ben's daughter. On the day of the inaugural launch of "The Brave" would forever be the day the daughter of the ride's own designer would fall to her death as her seat restraint would give way. Amidst the screams of seeming joy, Ben and Dominique had smiled as the "The Brave" would reach it's end, only to look back at screams of horror and a broken seat where their perished daughter was last seen at her happiest.
What the Press would say:
Philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand once said, "Guilt is a rope that wears thin." For Ben Roark (Tom Cruise) and Kevin Keating (Edward Furlong), these words are now their life. One that will forever be intertwined. As the central characters of Barbet Schroeder's newest film, "The Thin Rope" Tom Cruise and Edward Furlong attack the screen and their respective roles as if they had something to prove. Regardless of their publicity and troubles off camera, their talent is undeniable with chemistry that would leave any two actors envious. Cruise's Ben Roark is an optimistic overachiever who shoots for the moon, only to find himself out of his comfort zone and into a world of never-ending pain. Furlong's Kevin Keating defines the 90's "useless generation" of underachievers, who never lived up to their potential only to be tossed away on skid row, or in this case; a state of severe depression. With the intimidating James Cromwell as the depreciative father, pushing his son Kevin further into pain, and Dana Delaney's wife to Tom Cruise adheres to his constant emotional struggle of forgiveness for Kevin and battle with the guilt of his daughter's death, their memorable roles soak up each enriched scene with complete honesty. Don Roos’ moving script gives us characters who are so flawed, yet so true. Barbet Schroeder's knack for placing these intriguing characters under the darkest of circumstances, is a formula that works in more ways than one. The French director who had made a name for himself with the critically acclaimed Bukowski inspired film, "Barfly" to his academy award nominated "Reversal of Fortune" (also written by Don Roos), his style brings out the essence of one's deepest fears. He has reached new heights with, "The Thin Rope", where he brilliantly mixes in an episodic background of extravagant scenery and bright colors, accompanied by the haunting and tense score by Trevor Jones,. The deep characters who come up out of the shadows only to find themselves in a world they were not ready for. "The Thin Rope" ties a knot in your stomach that pulls on the most vulnerable of emotions. No matter how hard you try to untie it, you'll struggle. Some may unravel, some may quit, but no one can escape it's restraint.
Best Director - Barbet Schroeder
Best Actor - Tom Cruise
Best Supporting Actor - Edward Furlong
Best Supporting Actress - Dana Delaney
Best Original Screenplay - Don Roos
Best Cinematography - Janusz Kaminiski
Best Editing - Lee Percy
Best Score - Trevor Jones
Best Visual Effects - Nicolas Aithadi
Best Sound - Craig Henighan
Best Sound Editing - Steve Maslow
Best Art Direction - Paul Sonski