Milk and Honey

"Weak"

Milk and Honey Review


This story about a jangled night in the life of a few troubled New Yorkers aims for an After Hours-style, nighttime stew of insanity and coincidence but ends up merely showcasing the rather meaningless lives of a married couple who are only fully-developed human beings when separated from each other.

At the start of Milk and Honey, well-off stockbroker Rick (Clint Jordan) and his wife Joyce (Kirstin Russell) are throwing a party as a means of announcing their return to normalcy. Rick has had some mental problems, and has just gotten out of an institution. Unfortunately, it's painfully clear that he's ill-suited to return to the real world, as an innocuous conversation with a couple of co-workers turns into paranoid accusations. Things spiral further out of control when Rick makes a rambling speech and re-proposes to Joyce, who turns him down in front of the crowd, sparking a massive fight between them that has their guests scurrying for the door. Rick soon follows them out, smoldering with resentment.

From here, we follow Rick and Joyce through their respective odysseys through nighttime New York, beautifully and simply photographed in DV, an often ill-used format that makes the action uncomfortably intimate at times. Rick goes first to his ex-girlfriend's apartment, where he finds another guy, as well as a photo strip that shows Joyce with another man. Then Rick's dashing into the late night hours to bang down the door of his therapist, and afterwards to an all-night diner, where he quickly agitates the guy sitting next to him - Moses Jackson (Dudley Findlay Jr.) with his arrogant, nonsensical ramblings. After receiving a trashcan beating from Moses, Rick comes back inside to ask Moses to kill him, for money. And it's off to Jersey in Moses' van.

Meanwhile, Joyce is trying to figure out where Rick has gone and ends up going to a random party with her best friend, a narcissistic divorcee, and where she sees a man who looks stunningly like this guy whom she had had an affair with, but is actually dead. This mysterious man, Patrick, is the thread that writer/director Joe Maggio uses in a vain attempt to bring his movie together. It was Patrick's face in the photo strip that Rick found at his girlfriend's apartment, the same apartment that Patrick had lived in until he died, a fact Joyce only found out when she stopped by one day and discovered Moses, who works as a crime-scene cleaner, a job that leaves him ideally suited for disposing of Rick's body.

Fortunately, Milk and Honey wants to limn the sources of its characters' despair more than it desires to tangle them up in these sorts of coincidences, but it's an uneasy mix. Rick and Joyce are in essence not terribly interesting, with Rick being an especially foul kind of self-obsessed neurotic (though when he cleans up his act later in the film and starts acting like a more decent human being, you realize that his previously lousy behavior was his only discernible character trait). And the film couldn't be less interested in the character of Moses, who we see briefly visiting his sick mother in the hospital, but is essentially there only to act as an impressively physical counterweight to Rick's over-verbalized self - in other words, just another in a long line of earthy minority characters who remind a film's white protagonist (inadvertently or not) what life is all about.

It's a slim film with a good visual eye for the empty spaces of the urban night, but little cause to make one care about the actions of the characters it sends hurtling through the darkened streets.

Hold the milk. And the honey, now that we think about it.



Milk and Honey

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 18th January 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rick Johnson, as Joyce Johnson, Dudley Findlay Jr. as Moses Jackson, as Tony

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