In Carried Away, based on the novel Farmer by Jim Harrison (who also wrote Legends of the Fall), another one of the writer’s men-who-wrestle-with-demons gets good and shook up by the danged women in his life. Only this time, there’s no Brad Pitt to mop up the testosterone overflow. Dennis Hopper plays Joseph, the oldest-looking 47-year-old schoolteacher on God’s Midwestern earth, who limps around the farm he shares with his ancient mother (Julie Harris). Joseph courts a drab fellow teacher (Amy Irving) with maddening passivity, but he’s awakened to passion by the dangerous charms of Catherine (Amy Locane), an ultra-blond 17-year-old who breezes into his classroom, then removes her blouse in his hayloft, causing him to do the dirty and reconsider how life is to be savored.
Director Bruno Barreto (Irving’s husband, for whom she does fine work) and cinematographer Declan Quinn are good at poetic scene setting, and composer Bruce Broughton pumps out the Coplandesque music like the movie depends on it (it does), but Carried Away is at its heart a lot of high-toned hooey. And not even the extended exposure of Locane’s happy breasts is excuse enough for the extended airing of Hopper’s nude old self in the service of faux artistic integrity.