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October 21, 1983 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-21
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The Final Option
Starring Judy Davis and Lewis Collins
Directed by Ian Sharp
By Dan Desmond
V IEWING The Final Option
reminded me of watching the
Kentucky Derby, where you are subjec-
ted to an hour of preparation for a race
that lasts two minutes. In The Final Op-
tion expect to sit through a couple of
hours of futile fluttering before being
treated to fifteen minutes of true ex-
Just for starters, one of the problems
with this film is that there are too many
characters. There simply is not enough
time to develop these characters and
make their presence seem as if it really
matters. This is just one element that
makes this film appear as one that is
not well-conceived. The Final Option is
not a very integrated or lucid film.
The story involves a fanatical (but
misguided) anti-nuclear "terroress,"
and an equally fanatical soldier from a
special force called the S.A.S. (Special
Air Services). The girl is Frankie Leith
(Judy Davis) and the S.A.S. man, Peter
Skellen (Lewis Collins), who joins her
cause equipped with ulterior motives.
Leith is behind the seige of the British
Embassy where many influential
Americans, including the Secretary of
State, are dining. They make im-
possible demands which indicate that
they are really after massive press
coverage, and are also probably out to\
knock off a couple of VIP's if they feel
like it.
The rescue of these hostages is the
only worthwhile episode in the film. It is
exciting and efficiently carried out, and
includes lots of violence and fierceness
that is not for the weak of heart.
This film is not for the weak of
stomach either, as there are many
examples of unnecessary violence.
There are graphic views of people get-
ting their mouths kicked in, an insult-to-

No Time Like Now
By Larry Dean
S O THERE'S been a big break-
through these days - due, in part,
to MTV's acceptance of all the "new
music" groups out there, waiting to
sell, sell, sell. Fine. But that says
nothing at all about the quality of the
music, which is, for the most part and
as ever, pretty low. So much for the
latest in ear-candy.
However, there are a few groups
pounding out some reasonable, en-
joyable and intelligent music. Most of
'em are British, but that, too, is a
perusual point. With X and Talkfng
Heads in the top 20, there's some action
worth noting, but one of the best of the
new American bands is still being
overlooked, and with the release of
their second LP, No Time Like Now,
Translator have styled a record of such
dire importance that it must be made
note of.
Heartbeats and Triggers, Tran-
slator's debut, ,was a stunning aural
assault aimed both at the heart and the
mind. It neither abandoned emotion for
cerebrality, nor focused on politics in so
bright a light that everything else was
obscured. Heartbeats and Triggers was
one of those rare instances where the
two meshed together so well that the
album and its messages stuck for long
enough that the wait between it and its
follow-up seemed indeterminate and
No Time Like Now takes up where
Heartbeats left off, then going many
steps further. If anything held Tran-
slator's debut back from perfection, it
was its aggression: while songs like
"My Heart, Your Heart" and
"Everywhere" were pensive and more-
slower-paced than the rest of the songs,
they didn't quite balance out the album
in the way that the songs on No Time
Like Now do. Because Translator are

concerned with politics on every level
(they have said in interviews that they
see bigger social issues as nuclear
disarmament as macrocosms for per-
sonal relationships), this balance is im-
portant, both to the people and to the
There are no songs like "Sleeping
Snakes" on No Time Like Now - with
its chorus of Stop this missile building
acting as spine and refrain, the
message could only be heard too
clearly. The politics on No Time Like
Now are brought down almost entirely
to a personal level, so much so that they
can even manage to pull off a schmalt-
zy song like "L.A., L.A.," about their
chosen base-of-operations. That, and
others like it, make up the bulk of this
LP, in fact, with most being about
people and their relations to each other.
"Un-Alone," the opener, talks about a
person's need to exist with their own
beliefs and self, and to interact with the
people around them. It isn't always
easy, but the power and intensity of
Steven Barton's vocal delivery - and
the music - say that it's not only
possible to do it, but that it's being done.
No Time Like Now is about that -
doing things instead of talking about
them. No matter what the issue at
hand, the first step toward accom-
plishing something is acting on it. In
Translator's case, their doing is in the
With two superior songwriters and
vocalists at the helm, they get a diver-
sity of emotions and methods which
meet somewhere in the middle as the
Translator sound: dissonance, sharp
guitar chords, arpeggios, haunting-
back-up vocals, David Scheff's tight.
drum playing...it comes at you like an
express train, and even when it slows
down, you know it can still knock you
Robert Darlington's "I Hear You
Follow" is easily one of the prettiest
songs on No Time Like Now, warmed
with tasteful tenor sax blown by Romeo
Void's Benjamin Bossi. It lilts along but,
has a way of really getting under your
skin, like the love it talks about does.
And speaking of 'the big L,' "I Love
You," the closer of side one, is another
tune that must be mentioned on the
merit of its beauty. It easily rises above
the triteness of its title with a message
that is simple and boldly enunciated by
the band's musicianship.
Translator is a quintessential
American band. "L.A., L.A." has a


Translator: Important interpretations
faintly country-ish feel to it; "Break
Down Barriers" waxes funky; and "No
Time Like Now" and "About the
Truth" are two rockers based on an
American tradition that permeates the
music. I don't mean like Styx or Van
Halen or any of those lost causes -
they're in a world unto themselves -
but in the way they talk to their
listeners, both verbally and aurally.
When Barton bemoans "The End of
Their Love" over a slow, dirge-like
backing and Steve Berlin's (of the
Blasters) soprano sax, the picture you
get is more like Andrew Wyeth than
Vincent Van Gogh. One would expect
the latter considering Translator's
jarring, jerky music, but then
something simple - like the harmonica
in "About the Truth" - jumps in to
counterpoint and you're brought back
home again.
I cannot recommend No Time Like
Now enough to anyone. When I first

heard it, I ti
pointing cor
tbeats and Ti
time to sink
much bigger
else I have h(
because the
anything oth
because they
such emotior
can feel it i
name insinua
decisions ab
selves, chani
struments an
out in a way
people can un
The barrie
are big...the
willfully ask
a pinnacle th
and that shot

The Final Option: An unfortunate alternative

scenes he could be reminded that Sean
Connery is playing James Bond this
fall, not him. He is admittedly good in

the action scenes, but his overall per-
formance is incoherent.
Richard Widmark is very good as the
Secretary of State. However, Judy
Davis as the female radical does not
compare. When the two debate about

Join the
Arts Staff


Corner of
South University
and Washtena%

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4 Weekend/October 21, 1983

9 Wee

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