How we still yearn for Sean Connery to renege on his retirement, given the ongoing success of Michael Caine in films like The Dark Knight and Kingsman.
Ever since he retired after The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, Connery claims it is a lot more fun, but irrespective of this, he still manages to draw attention in anything he appears in and this is never more true than in the latest Eureka Blu-Ray release, Finding Forrester, which was originally released in 2000.
Given the ongoing concerns over diversity, Connery actually adds something to the mix with this film, which he also co-produced, with Gus Van Sant directing. It’s a warm, if occasionally sentimental, drama that evokes memories of the likes of Scent Of A Woman, Mr. Holland’s Opus and Dead Poets Society in terms of the dynamic between the teacher and student.
Set in New York, the film sees Connery as William Forrester, a reclusive novelist who takes a passing interest from his top floor apartment in the kids playing basketball across the street (and the occasional birdie that flies past his window). One of the kids, Jamal (Rob Brown) (a bright but underprivileged teenager) is given a dare by his friends to break into the apartment. He takes a letter opener, but gets surprised by Forrester in the process and leaves his backpack behind. Forrester throws it back onto the street to Jamal, who discovers that some of his writing books have been filled with comments about his writing. After the discovery that his test scores eclipse his school efforts, it transpires Jamal has also been offered a place in a prestigious private school, where a professor (F. Murray Abraham) takes an interest in Jamal’s writing abilities….
Finding Forrester more than confirms Connery’s ability to hold a film together with gravitas and stature that he has never lost after he made his final Bond film in 1983. Brown, in his debut film, is also very good and helps to define a dynamic relationship that echoes the one between Charlie and Frank in Scent Of A Woman.
Given the time of its release, Finding Forrester was a little close to Sant’s Good Will Hunting in terms of style, but it certainly provides as much entertainment as that film. Competent support from Anna Paquin as a student at the private school Jamal attends and Flashdance’s Michael Nouri as her father as well.
Overall, if you like the other examples we have cited, then you will lap upFinding Forrester. Ultimately, you will love Connery’s elder-statesman performance which is as good as anything he has done in the post-Bond era, alongside the likes of The Untouchables and The Hunt For Red October.
One does wonder still what Connery would have brought to Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull if he had agreed to do the fourth Indiana Jones film, not to mention the prospect of him playing Gandalf in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
FINDING FORRESTER / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: GUS VAN SANT / SCREENPLAY: MIKE RICH / STARRING: SEAN CONNERY, ROB BROWN, F. MURRAY ABRAHAM, ANNA PAQUIN, BUSTA RHYMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW