Video Review

The Water Engine

MPAA Rating: Unrated
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Movie Rated: Unrated; Genre: Drama; With: Charles Durning, Patti LuPone and William H. Macy

Stage plays on TV are usually as lifelike as Naugahyde, but David Mamet's spare adaptation of his own 1977 drama escapes the genre's deadlier possibilities. Set in the '30s, The Water Engine — about an apocryphal invention and the currents of avarice and ill luck that swirl it down the drain — is both cerebral and beguiling. There is keen acting by Patti LuPone, Charles Durning, and Mamet regular Joe Mantegna. And there is complexity at its core, left thoughtfully unreduced. B+

Originally posted May 19, 1995 Published in issue #275 May 19, 1995 Order article reprints