"Savannah" Is Lovely To Look At But Difficult To Understand

Movie Review Jackie K Cooper
"Savannah" (Meddin Studios)

"Savannah" is a movie with a high powered group of actors. Jim Caviezel and Chiwetel Ejiofor lead the cast with Bradley Whitford, Hal Holbrook, Jack McBrayer, Sam Shepard and Jaimie Alexander in supporting roles. That is a lot of talent to be cast in one small film, and sadly the movie still sinks. It isn't the acting that does it in; it is the vagueness of the script. It meanders here, there and everywhere and finally just ends.

The movie is based on the true story of Ward Allen (Caviezel), a blueblood among the Savannah gentry of the late 1800's. He is well educated but turns his back on the norms of society in order to be a duck hunter. He takes his boat out into the marshes around the Savannah River and there with his black friend Christmas (Ejiofor) spends his days hunting ducks that he then sells.

The movie flashes around in time sometimes being in the 1950's while at other times being in the early 1900's. The main part of the movie takes place in the 1918-1922 range when the main characters should have been in their late 50's or early 60's. But they look to be in their late 30's or early 40's. This lack of aging is one of the most glaring faults of the film.

The movie tries to be lyrical at times with Allen spouting the classics. But somehow the words coming out of his mouth are difficult to understand. They sound jumbled and indistinct so that the beauty of what he is saying is lost. Not lost is the beauty of the Savannah area and the gracious older buildings that still exist there.

At times the movie is a testament to the friendship between Allen and Christmas while at other times it is a love story focused on Allen and his future wife Lucy (Alexander). It can never quite get focused on where the attention of the audience should be directed.

Caviezel is good as Allen but he seems a little uncertain as to who the character is. Of course this could be the result of the indistinct script and not Caviezel's acting ability. Ejiofor is wasted as the loyal Christmas. Alexander has some good moments as Lucy but her character, like Caviezel's, seems prone to be different things at different times. Again this is more the product of a weak script than anything else.

The film is rated PG-13 for violence and profanity.

"Savannah" is a movie that is lovely to look at but difficult to understand. A cadre of good actors has been assembled but they are all misused by the wandering wasteland which is the script.

I scored "Savannah" a Georgian 4 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper