PROD Julia Verdin
SCR/CAM/ED Bernard Rose
PROD DES Bradd Fillmann
MUS Iryna Orlova, Anatoly Mamalyga
PROD CO Rough Diamond Productions
Los Angeles in the the early 1990s proves a witty analogue to pre-Revolutionary Russia in this free adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Two Hussars—a companion piece to director Bernard Rose’s Ivansxtc, which pulled a similar trick with The Death of Ivan Ilyich, as well as his Kreutzer Sonata and Anna Karenina.
Danny Huston—son of the Hollywood director John Huston—plays Jack Hussar, a cigar-chomping legend among those who still care about good movies, even if none of them made a dime. Returned from Africa in need of funds, Jack graciously permits fan/acolyte/would-be producer Brad (Dave Pressler) to drive him around LA, clear his debts and introduce him to his beautiful sister Diana (Sienna Miller). Ideally cast as a monstre sacré, Huston nails that air of detached but faintly debauched authority artists like to cultivate. His only loyalty is to the money he needs—and to whatever beautiful woman crosses his path.
In the symmetrical second half, Jack Huston (Danny’s real-life nephew) plays Jack Hussar Jr, who again crosses path with Brad and Diana just as he embarks on his own Hollywood odyssey. Like Ivansxtc Rose shot this digitally (he’s his own cameraman and editor) on the kind of budget Hussar senior would eat for breakfast. The writing is crisp and acerbic and veteran Richard Portnow is satanic as Lorenzo, a studio powerbroker who stakes final cut on a hand of Texas Hold ’Em.