Acclaimed directors try their hands at fiction
In Shade, The End of the Affair director Neil Jordan pens a novel of obsession and abandonment told from beyond the grave by Irish actress Nina Hardy.
Incestuous Tension In love with half brother Gregory (and vice versa), Nina envisions him while sleeping with another man.
Shakespearean Reference Nina and her childhood posse symbolically act out As You Like it.
Graphic Movie Violence A pal slashes Nina’s throat with gardening shears and dumps her in a septic tank.
Final Take An evocative yet disjointed Lovely Bones — like drama crossed with the violent sensibility of Jordan’s The Butcher Boy. B-
In Seconds of Pleasure, The Shape of Things director Neil LaBute pens a series of acerbic stories told by a bevy of sexual deviants and misanthropic twits.
Incestuous Tension In ”Maraschino,” an abandoned daughter beds her dad in hopes that he will recognize her.
Shakespearean Reference In ”Spring Break,” a student praises his professor’s rendition of The Taming of the Shrew before dumping her.
Graphic Movie Violence In ”Boo-Boo,” a middle-aged man watches a tween pick at a crusty scab before feeling up her calf.
Final Take A provocative collection told in the brutish tone of LaBute’s In the Company of Men. B
In The Sucker’s Kiss, The Commitments director Alan Parker pens a brisk novel told by Irish pickpocket Tommy Moran as he flits across America.
Incestuous Tension Tommy gawks at smutty pictures before realizing they’re of his younger sister.
Shakespearean Reference Tommy quotes Romeo and Juliet to impress the ladies.
Graphic Movie Violence A mobster splits open the head of Tommy’s sorta-associate Guido with a monkey wrench, ties him to a crane, and lets him bleed to death.
Final Take A diverting but lightweight trifle filtered through the tenacious mindset of Parker’s Angela’s Ashes. B