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November 04, 1994 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-11-04

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'Fall' conveys a silent terror
Beresford's latest entertaining yet commonplace

Movies can be so predictable!
Here's a formula: a murder occurs.
A psychiatrist is hired to investigate.
He becomes a surrogate father to the
orphaned boy witness and his seduc-

Silent Fall
Directed by
Bruce Beresford
with Richard



mystery formulathat has been repeated
over and over again, this movie con-
tains substance. It engages its viewer
with mostly sympathetic characters and
aclever plot, resulting in an interesting,
albeit predictable film.
Richard Dreyfuss plays Jack Rainer,
a psychiatrist with a talent for working
with autistic children and a wife (Linda
Hamilton) who does not understand
his job. He is called to the scene of a
gruesome murder of a wealthy Mary-
land couple. Their death was only wit-
nessed by their mute, autistic son, Tim
(Ben Faulkner).
Jack subsequently struggles to dis-
cover the truth under the watchful eye
of Tim's sister, Sylvie (Liv Tyler), the
sheriff (J.T. Walsh), and a rival psy-
chiatrist (John Lithgow), by examin-
ing the impenetrable young boy. As the
formula predicts, the truth gradually
comes out and Jack is left to decide
whetherhe should save himself and his
marriage, or the two orphaned children
he has grown to love.
A suspense with an autistic and

sexual twist, "Silent Fall" is a perfect
cross between "Basic Instinct" and
"Rain Man." Director Bruce Beresford
("Driving Miss Daisy") superbly con-
veys the true mystery of the murders, as
well as the pain that surrounds all in-
Also fascinating is the close medi-
cal study of autism, which is more
thoroughly addressed here than in "Rain
Man." Beresford uses an eerie musical
score, as well as dismal shots of the
autumnal Maryland Eastern Shore to
enhance the engulfing, enigmatic emo-
tion on which this film thrives.
As always, Dreyfuss is convincing
in his performance as the reclusive, yet
sagacious physician--acharactersimi-
lar to that of his 1992 hit, "What About
Dreyfuss is supported by an out-
standing debut performances by nine-
year-old Ben Faulkner as the troubled
autistic boy, and Liv Tyler. Yes, Tyler
is the daughter of Aerosmith's Steven
Tyler - "Dude Looks Like a Lady!"
- but she adds a personal flair to her


and Linda Hamilton

Live sister. When the truth emerges,
however, the psychiatrist realizes that
he is engulfed in foul play. Does he
protect the children, or tell the cops
what he knows? We all can figure out
the answer, because we have all seen
this kind of mystery before, and, with
"Silent Fall" we see it again.
But while "Silent Fall" is the same

Now Tim, this isn't funny anymore. Tell me what you did with Daddy's car keys.

performance, as well as surprising glim-
mers of talent despite her inherited
large lips.
Missing, however, is any memo-
rable performance by either of the most
famous members of the cast: Lithgow

and Hamilton. Nevertheless, when ar-
guing with her nearly adulterous hus-
band, Hamilton cries the most memo-
rable line of the film: "Don't you dare
psychoanalyze me, you bastard!" This
summary phrase leaves the audience

with a film that is educational and
entertaining, yet entirely commonplace.
And we wonder, "Haven't we heard
that line somewhere before?
SILENT FALL is now playing at

Live vicariously through 'Letters'

Nelson proves that electronic music is hyper

Spring is normally the season asso-
ciated with love, but the Ann Arbor
Civic Theatre wants to try and warm
your heart - despite the temperature
-- with its latest offering, "Love Let-
The drama is centered around two
characters that correspond with each
other for over 50 years. They begin as
childhood friends, then go their sepa-
rate ways while maintaining contact
through correspondence. The play fol-
lows Melissa and Andrew through their
very different lives.
"I submitted (the play) largely be-
cause we had done it about a year
earlier in our regular Sunday evening
Reader's Theater program, and every-
body was saying, I'd really like to see
{his presented!"'explained directorJeff
Zupan. "So I thought it would be worth

bringing to the committee, and appar-
ently they also thought it would be
popular with the public and fit in with
the overall season."
In the show, both Melissa and An-
drew marry other people, but Melissa
battles alcoholism and estrangement
Zupan has engineered
a certain degree of
innovation into his
while Andrew gains a seat in Congress.
The work is primarily a drama, accord-
ing to Zupan, but it does have its lighter
moments as well.
Zupan has engineered a certain de-
gree of innovation into his production.
The two characters would usually just
read the letters on stage. "The original

version was basically a staged reading,
and we're approaching it as an actual
play -- getting the dialogue into the
actors' heads rather than just reading it.
Both the actors and myself agree that
it's allowing them to really give a better
interpretation of the character than just
reading it. Once you start memorizing
the stuff, you're much more able to
become that person."
If you're looking for sentiment this
weekend - and don't mind living vi-
cariously through fictional characters
-look no further than "Love Letters."
LOVE LETTERS is showing
November 3-19 at the Ann Arbor
Civic Theater, located at 2275 Platt
Road, south of Washtenaw Avenue.
Performances are Thursday through
Saturday at 8 p.m., and tickets are
$8. For ticket information, call (313)
971-AA CT (2228).

It may seem that the Schools of
Music and Engineering have no more
S.ary Le
Nelson plays
Recital Hall, School of Music
Tuesday, November 1, 1994
in common than their North Campus
locations. Gary Lee Nelson, professor
of electronic and computer music at
Oberlin Conservatory, sought to dispel
this feeling at his "hyperinstrumental"
concert, held Tuesday night at the
School of Music.

The stage looked different from
most performances; next to a music
stand was a computer monitor, some
boxes and a massive tangle of wires.
Nelson stared intently at the monitor in
front of him while he coaxed awesome
music from what appeared to be an
oversized remote control with bright
turquoise buttons.
Some people may feel queasy at the
thought of computerized music. Yet
even the harshest critics would be fas-
cinated by the sounds Nelson is able to
The controller he used, known as a
Musical Instrument Digital Interface
(MIDI) horn, is a electronic wind in-
strumentthatresponds to key and breath
pressures. When attached to a synthe-
sizer, it can produce an amazing 128
different tone colors over eight oc-
Under the MIDI horn's solo line

was a computer generated harmonic
and rhythmic background. Its preci-
sion allowed Nelson to perform pieces
with accompaniment too complicated
for humans to play.
The program pieces ranged from
eerily spacelike to a revised sixteenth
century counterpoint. Most were
Nelson's original compositions. He
used a great deal of improvisation, but
an analytical feeling permeated the
performance. Many of the composi-
tions were geometrically based, and
the computer generated rhythms were
perfect. Yet, although the style was
scientific, the music remained exciting
and captivating.
Professor Nelson, a recognized pio-
neer in the field of computer music,
showed the University of Michigan,
Tuesday night, that math and music are
more complementary than mutually

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