×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Curtis’s Charm

Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, "Curtis's Charm" is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L'Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit.

With:
Curtis - Maurice Dean Wint
Jim - Callum Keith Rennie
Cookie - Rachael Crawford
Voodoo Ma - Barbara Barnes-Hopkins

Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit.

Based on a story by Jim Carroll, black-and-whit pic has a deliberately raw and ragged look that is less an affectation than an embellishment. Indeed, the recent, tooslick filmization of Carroll’s “The Basketball Diaries” could have used a healthy dose of this comedydrama’s street-smart grunginess.

Jim (Rennie), the white narrator, is a recovered heroin addict who lends a sympathetic yet increasingly impatient ear to Curtis (Wint), a black buddy from his rehab days. The flamboyantly loquacious Curtis is still hooked on crack cocaine, and is deeply troubled by paranoid delusions. He’s convinced that his mother-in-law (Barbara Barnes-Hopkins) is a voodoo priestess who has conjured up such creatures as a killer squirrel and amoney-stealing mouse to torment him. He’s also convinced that any passer-by, even a maintenance man in the park where Curtis and Jim chat, might be some kind of malevolent agent of terror.

Most of “Curtis’s Charm” is a long dialogue between the two rehab buddies, sporadically illustrated with Curtis’ paranoid fantasies. If only to stop Curtis’ nonstop rap, Jim pretends to offer a magical cure-all that will lift the voodoo curse. Unfortunately, nothing good comes of this.

Wint has the showier part, and he plays it to the hilt. At once amusing and unsettling, he gracefully maneuvers through some wild mood swings, and never seems more than a scream away from a complete breakdown. Rennie has relatively little to do other than react and comment. But he is very good at conveying Jim’s mounting uneasiness, and even better at making his character appear repulsed and fascinated in equal measures.

Rachael Crawford has the only secondary role of any importance, and makes a strong impression in her few scenes as Curtis’ estranged wife.

L’Ecuyer, an admitted ex-junkie, clearly understands his pic’s milieu. More important, he’s smart enough not to romanticize his characters and their hard-scrabble lives. Respectable tech credits including Harald Bachmann’s skittish cinematography, mark L’Ecuyer as a filmmaker who knows how to make the absolute most of an obviously limited budget.

Curtis's Charm

Canadian

Production: A Rabid Dog Films production. Produced by Sandra Cunningham, Executive producers, Atom Egoyan, Patricia Rozema. Directed, written by John L'Ecuyer, based on a story by Jim Carroll.

Crew: Camera (B&W, 16mm), IIarald Bachmann; editor, Craig Webster; music, Mark Korven; production design, John Dondertman; costumes, Beth Pasternak; sound (Dolby), John Hazen; associate producer, Carolynne Bell. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 11, 1995. Running time: 73 MIN.

With: Curtis - Maurice Dean Wint
Jim - Callum Keith Rennie
Cookie - Rachael Crawford
Voodoo Ma - Barbara Barnes-Hopkins

More Film

  • Cassandra Butcher Joins Bron Studios as

    Fox Searchlight Executive Cassandra Butcher Joins Bron Studios as Chief Marketing Officer

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

  • greenbook BTS Peter Farrelly

    'Green Book' Director Peter Farrelly on His Production Crew's Drive for Authenticity

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

  • Aretha Franklin performs at pre-inaugural festivities,

    Aretha Franklin Documentary 'Amazing Grace': Helping Her 'Family to Heal and Move on'

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

  • Scott Budnick

    Scott Budnick’s One Community Aims to Make a Difference With Activist Content

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

  • The Quiet Place BTS John Krasinski

    Unexpected Hopefuls Enliven This Year's Oscar Race for Director Gold

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

  • Matthew LibatiqueAmerican Society of Cinematographers Awards,

    'A Star Is Born' Cinematographer Matthew Libatique Arrested for Assault

    Basically a two-hander for Canadian actors Maurice Dean Wint and Callum Keith Rennie, “Curtis’s Charm” is a bleakly comical tale of male bonding and junkie paranoia on the mean streets of Toronto. Debut feature by writer-director John L’Ecuyer has slim commercial potential, but should make its mark on global fest circuit. Based on a story […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content