"The Perfect Man": PG for some mildly suggestive content. It suggests that mom gets around. 1 hour, 40 minutes. In general release.
Set in the near future during an oil crisis, "The Deal" is timely and concludes on a bitter note of irony, but it could have used a rigorous rewrite. The film might have worked as a taut, topical corporate intrigue thriller; instead, for all its ambition, it'sjust a routine mystery, despite a solid performance by Christian Slater.
Slater's Tom Hanson is a dynamic but principled rising star at Wall Street investment bank Delaney & Strong. For three years the U.S. has been at war with the Confederation of Arab States, which has driven the price of gasoline up to $6 a gallon and wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. Jared Tolson (Robert Loggia), chief executive officer at Condor Oil & Gas, approaches Tom to handle a deal for a $20-billion merger with a Russian oil company.
When Tom starts doing his homework, he places himself in great danger, but it actually doesn't start affecting him personally until a long-winded 45 minutes into the film.
In a distractingly elaborate setup for a love interest for Tom, the film's heroine, Abbey (Selma Blair), is a dedicated environmentalist, and Tom has come up with a scheme to persuade corporations in need of tax credits to invest in companies sensitive to the environment. There is way too much going on in Ruth Epstein's script, which leaves director Harvey Kahn plowing through it as best he can. With Colm Feore, John Heard.
"The Deal": R for language and some violence. Complex adult themes. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. Exclusively at the Beverly Center Cineplex, 8522 Beverly Blvd., (310) 652-7760; and the University 6, Campus Drive and Stanford opposite UCI, Irvine, (800) FANDANGO #143.
Kid holds English drama captive
Written by Alison Hume and directed by Gillies MacKinnon, "Pure" is an alternately sentimental and brutal tale of a 10-year-old boy (Harry Eden) struggling to rescue his widowed mother (Molly Parker) from heroin addiction. This is a conventional, well-acted, English working-class drama in the familiar realist style, but it does not attain anywhere near the level of artistry and imagination of a Ken Loach film. Although deeply felt on the part of its makers, "Pure" is manipulative on the one hand and at times defies credibility on the other. Nonetheless, Eden, who holds the film together by his winning presence and doughty performance, effectively conveys the effect of severe challenges that no child should ever have to face. With David Wenham, Geraldine McEwan, Karl Johnson, Vinni Hunter and Keira Knightley.
"Pure": Unrated. Heavy drug use, occasional strong violence. Entirely unsuitable for children. Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes. Exclusively at Laemmle's Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 655-4010.