Oleanna (1994)

I’m a huge, huge David Mamet fan and yet I have never seen a single David Mamet play performed on stage. Aside from his films, all I have is his plays in book-form and just reading his words, studying the language and conjuring the dialogue in my head, he has been the source of so much enjoyment and inspiration for me. Oleanna, even on the page, is one of his most provocative and thrilling plays and undoubtedly problematic. How many of those problems are by design is not for us to know but this unnecessary film adaptation, adapted and directed by Mamet himself, goes a long way to suck the life out of the whole thing. It is a painfully flat, boring and tedious experience that is well-performed but feels almost utterly lifeless. Two and a half stars out of courtesy for the source material which swam around my head for days.

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