There is honestly only one thing that drew my attention to the film Smoke: Harvey Keitel. My obsession with Harvey Keitel is a side effect of my much larger obsession with Quentin Tarentino and a much appreciated side effect at that. While flipping through the possible films I could watch my eyes managed to find Keitel’s face on the poster for Smoke and this week’s Netflix film was decided.
The film Smoke is the story of a group of characters that have one thing in common, they all have something to do with Auggie Wren’s smoke shop. As these characters meet and interact they begin to find connections between themselves and their lives.
• Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel)- Auggie is a wholly interesting man. Owning a smoke shop, Auggie has spent years trying to save up enough money to be comfortable. With some money in hand Auggie risks everything when investing in an expensive shipment of Cuban cigars. Augie also takes a picture of the exact same spot at the exact same time every day.
• Ruby McNutt (Stockard Channing)- A woman from Auggie’s past who has obviously played him before. Showing up because she needs help with her daughter who has gone astray, Ruby begs Auggie for help.
• Paul Benjamin (William Hurt)- Paul is an author who lost his wife. Stuck with writer’s block, Paul seems to be stuck in life until he meets a young man whom he can help.
• Thomas ‘Rashid’ Cole (Harold Perrineau)- A young man who has run away from home after getting in trouble with a bad thug. A twist of fate leads Paul and Thomas to meet. Paul gives Thomas a place to stay and helps him get a job at Auggie’s smoke shop. As Paul and Thomas start to become friends, it becomes clear that Rashid is not as innocent as he seems in his involvement with the thug. He is also doing more than just hiding, he is looking for his father.
• Cyrus Cole (Forrest Whitaker)- a man with a wife and child, Cyrus had a rough past and has made a point to try and turn his life around. Owning a garage, Cyrus is forced to return to his past when Rashid comes to visit.
This was an odd film. I have always liked films that take a number of different characters and stories and weave them together but the acting in this film had its ups and downs. Some scenes were absolutely outstanding while some left me wanting more effort and emotion. The story was good with a number of different twists but the writing was also lacking in some scenes. When it comes down to it this was a well done film but I’m not going to rave about it. I give this a C+. It was worth watching but nothing you have to look up right now.