The Caveman's Valentine

"Excellent"

The Caveman's Valentine Review


After working as an actor for some time, Kasi Lemmons (The Silence of the Lambs) wrote and directed her first feature, Eve's Bayou, in 1997. She has since spent the past 4 years putting together The Caveman's Valentine, which took 10-plus producers to come to fruition. Instead of directing original material, Lemmons directs from the book by Georges Dawes Green, who adapted it for the screen.

Samuel L. Jackson (Unbreakable, Shaft) teams up with Lemmons again (he played the philandering husband in Eve's Bayou) to star as the disturbed and homeless Romulus. Thankfully, no easy explanation is ever uttered as to the nature of his psychosis. He lives partially obsessed with a fantasy world in which exotic dancers inspire his hands on the piano, and his ultimate nemesis resides in the Chrysler building.

His daughter, Lulu (Aunjanue Ellis, Men of Honor) is a New York City cop. She cares about her father but has difficulties getting through to him as he insists on living in a Central Park cave and allows the voices in his head to control his actions. One of those voices is ex-wife Sheila (Tamara Tunie, The Devil's Advocate, also the narrator from Eve's Bayou), which leads him in his internal struggle.

Romulus becomes even more obsessed with his archenemy after a young man is found frozen to death in a tree outside his cave. He learns from a local street urchin that the deceased kid was a model for a famous, popular, and abusive photographer (Colm Feore, Titus) and begins to hunt the mystery. He tries to enlist his daughter's help, but this appears a simple case to the department, so he is on his own.

What follows is an intricately woven tale of sorting reality from the surrealism that lay siege to one another in the mind of Romulus. Even when he doesn't follow rules of common sense, it's difficult to argue with his actions or his need for justice. Because he is mentally innocent, it would be unthinkable to blame him for stupid remarks or walking into danger.

The question of whether or not he will succeed in taking down a murderer, or simply making more a fool of himself to his daughter, is kept grippingly open throughout. Because Romulus' mind can be struck with otherworldly ideas at any moment, the audience is kept in just as much ignorance as he is.

The only tiresome moments in the film are Romulus' interchanges with upper crust businessman Bob (Anthony Michael Hall, Pirates of Silicon Valley). Bob and his wife are the stereotypically ignorant white folk who find Romulus such an intriguing revelation to their otherwise boring world. Luckily these scenes are kept brief and are solely used for plot purposes, like cleaning Romulus up for his investigation of the photographer.

Lemmons' vision is once again brought to focus through the talented cinematography of Amy Vincent. Vincent shot Eve's Bayou as well, and again with The Caveman's Valentine shows a beautifully artistic eye in blending fantasy with reality. The distinction between the two is overt enough to be noticeable and yet never overwhelming because the fantasy is shot as crisply as the reality. It's easy to become captivated by scenery that's so visually compelling and adds weight to the mixture of internal and external worlds the audience is forced to live in for 105 minutes.

Lemmons is one of a meager handful of black female directors. One can only hope that successful adventures such as The Caveman's Valentine and Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust have far reaching effects on the Hollywood machine. With help from peers such as Samuel L. Jackson, who helped produce both of Lemmons' films, perhaps other filmmakers will get their chance.

Caveman, he love you.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 20th September 2001

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson as Romulus, as Leppenraub, as Moira, as Lulu, as Sheila

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.