Mixed reviews for Prisoner—and the party that followed.
By Charlie Huisking
April 14. Local filmmakers were in the spotlight on the second night of the Sarasota Film Festival. Sam Logan, a Sarasota resident, and Steve Matzkin, from Tampa, are the executive producers of the taut drama Prisoner.
Julian McMahon, who plays the randy plastic surgeon in Nip/Tuck, here stars as an egotistical director who gets more than he bargained for when he scouts for locations at an abandoned prison.
The film was handsomely shot, and McMahon and co-star Elias Koteas give riveting performances in what is essentially a two-character story. This is one of those movies where nothing is exactly what it seems. But the secret that is revealed at the film’s conclusion felt like an anti-climax to me.
McMahon was shooting another film, so he couldn’t make the screening or the party afterward at the Lake Club at Lakewood Ranch. But the affable Koteas was there, as was Dagmara Dominiczyk, who has a small supporting role.
But the evening’s big star was Oscar nominee Edward Norton, who was honored at the party not only for his screen work, but for his philanthropy—specifically his work on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims.
The party itself got decidedly mixed reviews from those in attendance. The setting was the Lake Club’s Showcase Circle, a row of grandiose model homes that surround a small lake. To me, it looked like the lakeside international promenade at Disney’s EPCOT Center. Only here, the foreign country was Millionaire-world.
“This is like Wisteria Lane on steroids,” one guest remarked.
The party featured another spectacular buffet of pasta dishes, seafood and, my favorite, a huge table dedicated to chocolate desserts. But energy was missing in the crowd, and it seemed more about selling real estate than celebrating movies.
I heard one woman ask her date what films Edward Norton had been in. An older man suggested he might be “the guy who was on The Honeymooners.” (That was actually Art Carney, who played a sanitation worker named Ed Norton).
Getting into the party was like going through airport security. And getting out was even more complicated. The valet parking crew apparently put the wrong tags on some keys, causing a backup until things got sorted out. Then, the fire marshal stopped traffic across a bridge until a fireworks display concluded, causing even more congestion.