Levity: Jonathan Wenk
Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Levity

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
100 minutes
Limited Release Date
04/04/03
performer
Kirsten Dunst, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, Billy Bob Thornton, Dorian Harewood
director
Ed Solomon
distributor
Sony Pictures Classics
author
Ed Solomon
genre
Drama

We gave it a D+

Having banked success as a comedy screenwriter, Ed Solomon (”Men in Black”) eschews all that useless hilarity in his directing debut. Levity, from his own script, is gray, depressive, and intimacy-averse. And so are the lank, shoulder-length hairdo and zombie demeanor affected by Billy Bob Thornton as Manuel Jordan, a man released from prison some two decades after killing a convenience-store clerk in a botched robbery.

Desperate for redemption but convinced he doesn’t deserve it (so very ”Monster’s Ball Redux”), Manuel returns to the scene of the crime, establishing a relationship with various other hurting souls in the area, among them Holly Hunter as his victim’s sad sister, Morgan Freeman as a tormented preacher, and Kirsten Dunst as a self-destructive club kid. One could, I suppose, read mysteries of atonement into this stern tale. But for what sin? Surely not for cowriting ”Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

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