Review: ‘Guts’

Things get off to a promising start in "Guts," which initially looks like an appealing mix of "Barton Fink" and "Play It Again Sam." But tale about a screenwriter with a bad case of writer's block comes undone by midway point. First-time feature helmer Ron Termaat can't seem to decide if low-budget indie is light comedy or dark tragedy; result is occasionally entertaining but too uneven to sustain interest. It will at best snare some fest screenings.

Things get off to a promising start in “Guts,” which initially looks like an appealing mix of “Barton Fink” and “Play It Again Sam.” But tale about a screenwriter with a bad case of writer’s block comes undone by midway point. First-time feature helmer Ron Termaat can’t seem to decide if low-budget indie is light comedy or dark tragedy; result is occasionally entertaining but too uneven to sustain interest. It will at best snare some fest screenings.

Failed thesp Olivier (Viggo Waas) is trying to pen a screenplay so he can make a pic with his good pal Luc (Rick Engelkes). But he can’t overcome his obsession with such tough-guy movie icons as Alain Delon and Marlon Brando and, in turn, come to grips with the mundane reality of his life. He befriends a mysterious, alluring woman, Marielle (Alice Reys), and is tormented by the fact that he watched helplessly as her ex-boyfriend beat her up. After a light and frothy midsection, pic delivers an anguished finale. Despite the confusing ride, Waas is quite charming and Reys is memorable.

Guts

(DRAMA -- DUTCH)

Production

A C.V. Lef production. (International sales: C.V. Lef, Amsterdam.) Produced by Marijke Kloosterman, Ron Termaat. Directed, written by Ron Termaat. Camera (color/B&W), Maarten Kramer; editors, Annette Otto, Hans Van Dongen; music, Joep Van Deudekom, Andre Van Der Hoff. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 11, 1999. (Also in AFI/L.A. Film Festival.) Original title: Lef. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

With: Viggo Waas, Alice Reys, Rick Engelkes, Victor Reinier, Eric Van Sauers, Ineke Veenhooven, Cees Geel.
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