Volume 92, Issue 93

Wednesday, March 24, 1999


True Crime escapes capital punishment

Underground Sound

A passionless Hollywood

Bullock's Force carries new film

Bullock's Force carries new film

©Photo by Darren Michaels

YOU CAN TELL BY THE FACE – HE'S WEARING A THONG. Ben Affleck charms many, including Sandra Bullock, in their new film, Forces of Nature.

By Sarah Duda

Gazette Staff

What would you do if you met someone who was smart, funny and beautiful – and you fell for them instantly? Better still, what if they felt the same way? Now, what if you were already engaged to somebody else? These are questions director Bronwen Hughes asks in her new film, Forces of Nature.

Maybe Sandra Bullock's fame is getting tiresome and the gracing of Ben Affleck's face in what seems like every new movie is getting monotonous, especially since romantic comedies have saturated the cinematic market of late. But even if the previews for this film don't reek of innovative excitement, viewers are in for a pleasant surprise. Forces of Nature is a good movie.

Ben Affleck plays straight-laced writer named (get this) Ben, who is on his way from New York to Georgia, to marry his fiancee Bridget (Maura Tierney). Seated next to Ben on his Savannah bound flight is the free spirited Sarah (Sandra Bullock). After an unexpected accident, Ben and Sarah are thrust together by their common need to get to Savannah – and fast.

Predictably, Ben and Sarah get caught up in all kinds of romantic mis-adventures which prolong their trip and push them closer and closer together. It doesn't take long for this odd couple to realize opposites attract. Inevitably, Ben must choose between his boring fiancee and his crazy travelling companion.

Everything and everyone in the movie seems to be leading Ben away from the institution of marriage and towards the freedom and spontaneity which Bullock represents. The climax of the movie occurs when Ben, Sarah and a hurricane arrive at Ben's wedding simultaneously – a nice poetic touch.

Admittedly, many movies have used this same romantic formula before. What is intriguing about Forces of Nature, however, is the way it deals with Ben's two possible soul mates. His fiancee is not the stereotypical bitch and Bullock's character isn't painted with an uncritical brush. Nowhere in the film is it made obvious which woman would make Ben happier. Viewers will find themselves caught in the same confusing whirlwind of indecision Ben experiences first hand.

As for the acting, Affleck's performance is nothing special. Still, the romantic duo's presence is kept lively and fun thanks to Bullock's energy. This is a perfect role for Bullock who, much like Meg Ryan, excels when playing the lead in a romantic comedy. A very talented supporting cast, including Steve Zahn (You've Got Mail) deliver some funny and charming performances.

Cinematography is definitely one of the film's strengths. In a number of particularly captivating scenes, a foreground filmed at regular speed is juxtaposed against a slow motion backdrop, creating a surreal yet grounded effect. Many scenes also combine vibrant colours and breathtaking scenery which contribute significantly to the film's spontaneous and care-free appeal.

If the concepts of marriage and monogamy have ever instilled a living fear in you, then this is a romantic comedy worth seeing. Even if one can't be comforted by its conclusions, the movie is still refreshing and inspiring.

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