You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Golf in the Kingdom

Susan Streitfeld adapts Michael Murphy's novel to sometimes laudable, usually ludicrous effect.

With: David O'Hara, Mason Gamble, Joanne Whalley, Malcolm McDowell, Frances Fisher, Julian Sands, Tony Curran, Jim Turner.

Several filmmakers, including Gus Van Sant and Clint Eastwood, have taken swings at bringing Michael Murphy’s 1971 bestseller, “Golf in the Kingdom,” to the screen, ultimately stymied by the challenge of visualizing its peculiar mix of golf and mysticism. In this shoestring outing, Susan Streitfeld (“Female Perversions”) opts for an unsettling mix of low-tech cinematic tricks and temporal reshufflings to simulate the process of enlightenment to sometimes laudable, usually ludicrous effect. Released July 29 at Gotham’s AMC 25, “Golf” fails to make par.

On his way to an Indian ashram, a brash young American (ex-child star Mason Gamble, unconvincing) stops at Scotland’s legendary Burningbush golf course, where he receives a 24-hour initiation into the game’s profound, life-changing properties from resident guru/golf pro Shivas Irons (David O’Hara, coasting on his burr). Murphy’s pretentious pronouncements, reprised countless times, ring hollow, even when mouthed by vets like Malcolm McDowell and Julian Sands. A certain dream logic struggles for expression, but the film’s obsessive cross-cutting, extreme closeups and slow dissolves feel more disjunctive than meditative. Striking compositions against fantastical rock formations on Oregon’s coastline suggest Streitfeld may have fared better with less effort.

Popular on Variety

Golf in the Kingdom

Production: A Golf in the Kingdom release of a Golf in the Kingdom production. Produced by Mindy Affrime. Executive producer, George Stephanopoulos. Co-producers, Rana Joy Glickman, Gretchen Miller, Jim L. Clark. Directed, written by Susan Streitfeld, based on a book by Michael Murphy.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen HD), Arturo D. Smith; editor, Kathryn Himoff; music, Ian Dean, Evelyn Glennie; art director, Matt Karchesky; costume designer, Angela Billows. Reviewed at AMC Empire 25, New York, July 29, 2011. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: David O'Hara, Mason Gamble, Joanne Whalley, Malcolm McDowell, Frances Fisher, Julian Sands, Tony Curran, Jim Turner.

More Film

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Lupita Nyong'o Follows Hollywood's Tradition of Two Roles in One Film

    Peter Sellers played three roles in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove.” In December of that year, Variety reported that Columbia was mounting an Oscar campaign for lead actor, but was also considering three supporting-actor campaigns, for each of his characters. (They settled on one campaign, and Sellers’ nomination as lead actor was one of the [...]

  • 'Legion' TV show premiere

    Noah Hawley to Write and Direct Next 'Star Trek' Movie

    “Fargo” and “Legion” creator Noah Hawley has been tapped to write and direct the next installment of the “Star Trek” franchise, sources tell Variety. Though plot details are being kept under wraps, sources tell Variety the next “Star Trek” is expected to see Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and Zoe Saldana returning to man [...]

  • Paramount Movie Theater Paramount Consent Decree

    Why Eliminating the Paramount Antitrust Decrees Won't Shake Up the Movie Business

    The Paramount Decrees have been the rules of the road for Hollywood since the golden age of movies, but the Justice Department’s decision to do away with directives that were hammered out decades before the rise of cable or streaming has barely registered within the entertainment industry. That’s because they are widely seen as anachronisms [...]

  • Kristen Bell Frozen 2

    'Frozen 2' Cast Weighs in: Should Elsa Have a Girlfriend?

    The cast of Disney’s “Frozen 2” gave their two cents on whether or not Princess Elsa should one day find a girlfriend in any of the future films. The idea has been a hopeful wish of fans due to Elsa’s lack of a male love interest in “Frozen” or its sequel. At the movie’s red [...]

  • the two popes

    How Luca Canfora Recreated The Papal Vestments for 'The Two Popes'

    Luca Canfora is no stranger to designing papal vestments; his previous projects include “The Young Pope” and “The New Pope.” Coming into Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes” meant Canfora knew where he could have costumes made with the highest quality, and when it came to fabric choice and constructing his costumes. Canfora had to create [...]

  • Pom Klementieff poses at the launch

    Pom Klementieff Lands New Role in Next 'Mission: Impossible' Film

    “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Pom Klementieff is set to join the latest installment of Paramount and Skydance’s “Mission: Impossible,” joining Tom Cruise, who is reprising his role of Ethan Hunt. Christopher McQuarrie announced the news on Instagram on Tuesday, and is returning to write and direct the seventh and eighth movies, which will be [...]

  • Fede Alvarez

    'Don't Breathe' Director Fede Alvarez Developing White House Horror Movie With Legendary

    “Don’t Breathe” director-producer Fede Alvarez is teaming with Legendary Pictures for an untitled White House horror movie. The project, described as “The Shining” set in the White House, will be directed by Alvarez from a script by Joe Epstein and produced by Alvarez’s Bad Hombre Films. Legendary announced the horror movie Tuesday as part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content