Trees Lounge: Steve Buscemi a jpoc movie review

An Imaginary Autobiography?

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My Rating

Seven out of ten.

I saw this on the first of February in 1997 at the Aventure in Brussels. It was one of the best films that I saw that year.

My review

This film, written and directed by and starring Steve Buscemi is perhaps a tale of how his own life may have gone if he had not made it as an actor. The story centres around a bar, the Trees Lounge, in which Tommy (Buscemi) hangs out and gets drunk with the other drunks.

Many of the settings are lifted from Buscemi's life before his acting career took off.

Tommy doesn't have a job, or a girl or a life. He managed to loose them all at the same time. In their place, all that he has is an alcoholic haze. What he really wants more than anything is to get those things back. Ideally, he'd like the old job and girl but instead he finds himself driving an ice-cream van and hooks up with the young neice of his ex.

This does not sound like a brilliant basis for a film and this movie's impact depends almost exclusively on how the viewer relates to the main character Tommy. If he is a shallow drunk with no merits beyond a quick intelligence then the film will not appeal. On the other hand, if you find yourself wishing him well and hoping that, somehow, he can get himself back together again then you will enjoy this film.

What makes this movie for me is that Buscemi is seen in a role where you feel he really is playing a character that he is close to. In Reservoir Dogs and Escape from LA, he was acting. Here and in Fargo, he just was.