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    The Guys

    Calm after the storm

    "The Guys," adapted from the post-September 11 off-Broadway play, is a quietly engrossing remembrance of some of the ordinary heroes of the New York Fire Department.


    In the days after the World Trade Center fell, the news media was filled with stories of ordinary people being lauded as heroes simply for doing their jobs. If these snapshot accounts of people's lives often sounded the same (courageous individual devoted to family sacrifices life to save others), well, there were just too many stories to tell in too little space.

    Directed by: Jim Simpson.
    Written by: Anne Nelson.
    Adapted from the play by: Anne Nelson.
    Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Anthony LaPaglia, Irene Walsh, Jim Simpson, Charlotte Simpson, Julian Trompeter, Katharine Schreiber, Lucas DeBassac, Joshua Ross, Shelita Birchett, Ron Dortch, Alfredo Narciso, Julia Nelson Black, David Nelson Black.
    New Directors / New Films 2003
  • Angela
  • Bus 174
  • Camp
  • The Embalmer
  • The Guys
  • Hukkle

  • The Missing Gun
  • Mondays in the Sun
  • Raising Victor Vargas
  • Wild Berries
  • Respiro

  • Festival site
  • Anne Nelson confines herself to just a handful in "The Guys," the screen adaptation of her two-character Off-Broadway play, which featured a rotating cast of celebrities during its yearlong run. Director Jim Simpson, who also helmed the stage production (and, like Nelson, is making his feature film debut), has retained original stars Sigourney Weaver (his real-life wife) and Anthony LaPaglia. This meticulous, quietly engrossing adaptation opens up the story just enough for the screen without sacrificing the play's intimacy.

    Nelson based the story on an experience she had shortly after September 11. In the wake of the disaster, Joan (Weaver), an upper-middle-class Manhattan journalist who wants to do what she can to help, ends up composing eulogies for Nick (LaPaglia), a Brooklyn fire captain who lost eight men when the Twin Towers collapsed. They make an odd couple, Joan observes via voiceover, using a subway analogy to explain the nonintersecting lives they'd been leading: "Nick and I weren't supposed to meet. You couldn't create another sequence for his life that leads to me. Or for my life that leads to him. After September 11, all over the city, people jumped tracks."

    The Guys  
    Through her questions, Joan gets him to reveal the little details and quirky characteristics that defined each colleague. Instead of seeing them through flashbacks, their personalities come to life through Nick's humorous and heartfelt memories. One was his best friend, a family man active in his church; another, a rookie who had been on the job only a couple of weeks. Weaver and Paglia impress with understated performances, conveying the tattered emotions that were surfacing beneath the ordinarily complacent veneer of many New Yorkers in the 9/11 aftermath.

    Simpson wisely zeroes in on his actors, letting their voices and facial expressions set the pace and the tone. While "The Guys" may not be the feel-good movie of the year, it's a calming, cathartic experience that will both stir and soothe at a time when this country is facing further uncertainty and pain.

    MARCH 29, 2003

    Reader comments on The Guys:

  • BORING   from annoyed auditer, Oct 28, 2003
  • Re: BORING   from John Leguizamo, Dec 6, 2003
  • Re: BORING   from erin, Sep 25, 2004
  • Re: BORING   from allyssa, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: BORING   from allysa, Nov 24, 2004
  • Re: BORING   from alyssa, Nov 24, 2004
  • [no subject]   from allysa, Nov 24, 2004
  • The Guys   from John Cardwell, Nov 25, 2004
  • not as boring as u might think   from John doesman, Jan 24, 2005
  • The Guys   from Kevin Dunne, Feb 6, 2005
  • The Guys   from Mary Jo, Jan 20, 2006
  • Finding this video   from Cindy, Feb 1, 2006
  • Re: Finding this video   from Arby, Sep 11, 2006
  • Re: Finding this video   from Cindy Mellow, Aug 21, 2007
  • Re: Finding this video   from danny, Jan 11, 2008
  • Re: Finding this video   from Dave, Feb 24, 2008
  • For "Boring"   from , Nov 13, 2008
  • Re: For "Boring", and his/her ilk   from Nam Vet, Sep 9, 2009
  • A Funeral in Movie Format   from Ellie in Canada, May 2, 2010

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