We gave it an A
Jason Priestley has lived in Beverly Hills, 90210 for so long, I was starting to think he’d never find his way out without a trail of Reese’s Pieces to guide him. But he makes canny use of his Tiger Beat-ish persona in Love and Death on Long Island (Lions Gate), a highly original Death in Venice-scented comedy drama written and directed with flair by British feature novice Richard Kwietniowski, from a cult novel by Gilbert Adair.
In doing so, Priestley holds his own against John Hurt, who turns in a magnificently modulated performance as writer Giles De’Ath, a widowed British fogy who wanders into the wrong sin-ay-mah and encounters Hotpants College 2, an idiotic Porky’s-style romp starring one Ronnie Bostock (Priestley). The old fellow swoons, projecting onto Bostock’s bovine gazes an artistry far greater than the heartthrob’s credits suggest. (Ronnie’s other exquisitely named features include Tex Mex and Skid Marks.) Besotted, Giles embraces pop culture like a giddy groupie. And eventually, he insinuates himself into the life of the young hack, deluding Ronnie and, for a while, Ronnie’s girlfriend (Fiona Loewi) but enlightening the rest of us most poignantly about the point in the creative process where talent ends and wishing begins. A — LS
Love and Death on Long Island STARRING John Hurt Jason Priestley RATED PG-13 93 MINUTES