Has there ever been a better-cast Hollywood movie than Twilight,
Robert Benton’s 1998 neo-noir thriller? I’d never even heard of it until OGIC drew it to my attention, but now it’s a special favorite that I screen at least once a year, as I did last night. From the top down, here’s the star billing: Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman, Reese Witherspoon, Stockard Channing, James Garner, Liev Schreiber, Margo Martindale (she’s currently doing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway), and M. Emmet Walsh, and every one of them is memorably good, especially Garner and Channing. Yet Twilight wasn’t a hit and isn’t all that well remembered, presumably because its real subject matter is advancing age, a topic that doesn’t make for hits. Likewise Dick Richards’ 1975 film version of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely, in which the nonpareil Robert Mitchum plays Philip Marlowe as much older than did Humphrey Bogart or Dick Powell–and makes you buy it.
Maybe it’s just my gray hairs talking, but I think noir and middle age go together like gin and vermouth. Disillusion, diminishing horizons, a shattered sense of the possible: that’s noir in a nutshell. Kinda goes well with the holidays, don’t you think?