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The subject of the film is the life and creative genius of Hart Crane, (July 21, 1899 - April 27, 1932) an American poet who found both inspiration and provocation in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that is difficult, highly stylized, and very ambitious in its scope. In his most ambitious work, The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem in the vein of The Waste Land that expressed something more sincere and optimistic than the ironic despair that Crane found in Eliot's poetry. In the years following his suicide at the age of 32, Crane has come to be seen as one of the most influential poets of his generation.
James Franco wrote the screenplay based on book by Paul Mariani, directed and edited the film and acted the main role of Hart Crane. Crane was a nearly disconsolate man who refused to follow his wealthy father's business, longing instead to be a poet. Born in Ohio he traveled to New York (the place he always considered home), to Cuba, and to Paris searching for his poetic voice.Read more ›
I know next to nothing about Hart Crane, and I don't know a lot more after having watched this movie. It's not a biography by any means. My best guess would be that it's James Franco's impression of what Crane was like, and that's what makes it interesting.
It's oddly directed, with very many long, handheld, extreme closeups, filmed from about chest-level, of Franco (as Crane) walking the streets of various cities, usually looking up from just under his chin, but sometimes looking at the back of his head. That motif repeats often.
At least 70% of the spoken lines in the movie are Franco (always as Crane) reading Crane's poetry: one long scene reciting to an audience in a formal setting, and much poetry read as a sort of narration as various events unfold on screen. This movie definitely is not for people who hate poetry - Crane's poetry in particular.
It's definitely not for people who need action, romance, likable characters, or a clear story line in movies. It's for people who can sit through a 108-minute experimental movie without any particular expectation as to what it's going to be like.
It's for people who appreciate enthusiasm and passion in artists (I'm talking mainly about Franco, but it applies to Crane too, I suppose) even if the result is not particularly coherent. It's obvious that this was a labor of love for Franco, and that more than anything else is what makes it interesting.
The movie is not concerned with being a traditional biography. It is structured in a series of vignettes (labeled as voyages). Some of these interludes are evocative, some are rather obtuse. With a subject that is so inherently dramatic and tumultuous, it is quite unexpected how little of that drama actually makes it into the story. Many of the segments offer mundane slice-of-life glimpses of Crane, some offer brief outbursts usually without context, and many offer reading after reading of Crane's work and/or letters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had high hopes for this one. I'll give him credit for taking some chances throughout the film.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I looked forward to seeing Franco's film. A late friend of mine knew Hart Crane well. In fact, his exwife was Crane's traveling companion on the ship he lept off to his death. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Jack Straw
I'm writing this because I find I'm thinking a lot about what the best part of this little-known film brings to light: the power of visionary thinkers to change the world. Read morePublished 12 months ago by lapisblue
The Broken Tower was written & directed by James Franco as an academic dissertation for which I hope he was awarded a High Distinction by his supervisor. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Barnaud
Great film by an awesome director. James Franco is so amazing. Love itPublished 16 months ago by christina rosales