Rear Window, remake

Rear Window, remake

A shame, but this straight-to-tv movie staring Christopher Reeve (after his accident) is nothing but a vehicle for him to talk about disability issues.  The whole story gets completely bogged down in this educating.

I’m all for teaching people about disability issues, that’s a real passion of mine. ¬†If you’re going to use a fictional story to do that, though, it has to be gentle, in the background, and not overwhelming the plot. ¬†This feels more like a documentary on quadriplegia than a fiction movie.

The original Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window has the main character in a wheelchair with a broken leg, and his immobility is used to up the ante on the fear. ¬†Similar to my comments on Bone Collector and MonkeyShines, it isn’t surprising that suspense movies like to trap characters in vulnerable situations.

Someone took the opportunity to remake this movie and rewrite to make the disability¬†permanent. ¬†Unnecessarily, the rewriting is extensive, showing the character’s accident and all kinds of new details that were not relevant to the story. ¬†Apparently Reeve didn’t do the writing, according to this review: “ …the slack, awkwardly updated, and frequently confusing teleplay by Eric Overmyer (Homicide: Life on the Street) and Larry Gross (48 HRS.).” Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly, November 20, 1998.

It still seems like a mouthpiece for Reeve’s ideas, as evidenced by this line of dialog from the movie, ¬†“I’ve done the research. They’re this close to a cure for spinal cord trauma. Time comes, I intend to be ready.” ¬†What is the difference between Reeve and this character he is playing? ¬†That sounds like Reeve’s soundbite.

A glowing review has this to say, “After it aired the American Paralysis Association had to add more phones because of the overflow of viewers making contributions at their 1-800-225-0292 number. Reeve…credits¬†Rear Window as being more effective than a documentary in aiding the disabled.” ¬†That’s not a good thing. ¬†I mean, really it is, it’s great, but this isn’t a movie you watch for entertainment and relaxation. ¬†It is propaganda, designed to make you think about severe disability. ¬†It does that well, but it sacrifices the integrity of the story to accomplish it.

The review also says, “Reeve thinks his role will increase opportunities, and hopes it leads to a time when disabled characters have no special meaning but are simply characters. ‘We’re getting used to minorities and women in responsible positions and viewers think nothing of it. It would be great if we could get to the same point with the disabled.'” ¬†That I agree with completely! ¬†I don’t see how this role will lead to that end, since the movie is consumed with focusing on the disability.

Props to Reeve for the attempt, it’s awesome to have a true-life high-level quad in a movie. ¬†It is excellent to show that life can still be very complete for someone with such a severe injury. ¬†The¬†execution¬†fell short, though.



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