Daniel Craig delivers a startling performance as Joe Scott, a washed-up Hollywood star adrift in a haze of sex, drugs and squandered fame. But when he receives news of the sudden death of his childhood best friend, Joe flashes back to his younger self (played by Harry Eden of Oliver Twist) in his small English seaside village and the summer of innocence and tragedy that would change his life forever. Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense), Claire Forlani (CSI:NY) and Eve co-star in this powerful drama about love, loss and one mans journey to redemption, executive produced by Daniel Craig and featuring songs by Scott Walker, David Bowie and Roxy Music.
Leading man Daniel Craig apparently made Flashbacks of a Fool (he was also one of the executive producers) in between stints as James Bond, and you can see why he was attracted to it; Joe Scott, the character he portrays in this film, could hardly be less like the suave, ever-resourceful 007. Ensconced in a fab, oceanfront Malibu crib, Joe is a movie star on the skids. Hooked on coke and drink, engaging in group gropes with dumb Hollywood bimbos, he’s sunk so low that his sassy assistant (Eve) calls him "a disgrace to white folks," and even his agent is sick of him, which is somewhat akin to a parasite dissing its host (it’s a measure of writer-director Baillie Walsh’s script’s lack of depth that we never really see what made Joe so great in the first place, or so bad now). When a call comes that a childhood friend has died, Joe decides to return to his native England for the funeral, whereupon an extended flashback kicks in. Young Joe (Harry Eden), it seems, was as randy and hopelessly naïve as a lot of teenage boys. Though he had the hots for the sexiest young thang in town (a coastal village that’s as lovely in its way as the California setting, both of them handsomely photographed by cinematographer John Mathieson; the locations, in fact, are probably the most attractive element of the film), he also wasn’t immune to the advances of Evelyn (Jodhi May), the older married woman who lives next door. And when a tragedy involving Evelyn’s daughter struck while she and Joe were in flagrante, Joe handled it by leaving town, never to return--until now, that is. He discovers that his late pal’s widow is the same young girl Joe’d had his eye on, but otherwise his homecoming is a strangely muted affair; not a lot happens, which pretty much applies to the film overall. In the end, Flashbacks of a Fool has its touching moments, but it might have turned out better had it been both shaken and stirred. --Sam Graham
Stills from Flashbacks of a Fool (Click for larger image)