Levity

Levity

As average as a movie can get. I saw Levity when it opened the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and there was something so appropriate about that, as it has all the elements of a stereotypical Sundance film: death, loss, drug addiction, crime, religion, gritty urban decay. And redemption, of course. Can't forget the redemption.

In Levity (written and directed by millionaire Men in Black screenwriter Ed Solomon, with an Oscar-winning cast and crew - this is independent?), Billy Bob Thornton puts on a long gray wig that makes him look like Killer Bob from Twin Peaks and is released from jail 20 years after murdering a young man in a convenience store robbery. Obsessed with guilt for his crimes, he decides the only way he can find peace is if he befriends his victim's sister (Holly Hunter), whose troubled teenage son, by pure coincidence, is about to go down the same dark road that Thornton once traveled.

If that weren't enough people who needed to be saved, enter Kirsten Dunst as a bored suburban girl who comes into the seedy section of town where Thornton lives in order to score drugs. Then we have Morgan Freeman, affecting a silly Redd Foxx growl, as a preacher with a (surprise!) shady past who befriends Thornton. Dunst's and Freeman's characters barely even belong in this story, which tries so hard to be earnest that it risks nothing, challenges nobody, and gives us no new ideas. Basically it's a vanity project for a pampered Hollywood dorkus whose dreams of earning some credibility with a "low budget" project result in this generic, whitewashed tale which attains a level of blandness that not even its A-list cast can redeem.