Finding North

Finding North, the directing debut of Tanya Wexler (daughter of cinematographer Haskell Wexler), is a most paradoxical film: a road movie that feels almost entirely static. The first scene, at least, is a grabber: a naked man (John Benjamin Hickey) teeters on the railing of the Brooklyn Bridge, contemplating suicide. Instead of jumping, though, he hops a cab and heads home. (We later learn that he's just lost his longtime lover to AIDS, and intends to burn through their savings account before making his own final exit.) Through a series of unbelievable coincidences, Travis crosses paths with a bored bank teller named Rhonda, who witnessed his near-suicide and fell instantly in love with him.

Hickey has a certain Joel McCrea­like appeal, but here he seems to be conveying the idea that a man can go quite bland with grief. Wendy Makkena plays the big-haired, white-shoes-after­Labor Day heroine with a perplexing combination of moxie and confusion— it's hard to say if she's being true to the shtick-heavy, sitcomlike script, or trying to get out of its way.

 
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