Dir: Joachim Heden. Swe. 2006.96mins.
There is little new or of interest in New York Waiting, a modest romanticcomedy from newcomer Jonathan Heden - save that despiteits Stateside location, everyone behind the camera isSwedish.
The English-language story mostlytakes place in Manhattan during one summer day and night, and shares theenthusiasm of all bright eyed visitors for the sight and sounds of the BigApple.
But New York Waiting goes through all the predictable motions, with astructure similar to Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), and a climacticEmpire State date similar to that in LoveAffair (1939) and countless features since.
Its focus is a hopelessromantic (Christian Stewart), who believes he can rekindle last year's loveaffair, and a girl (Annie Woods) who has just walked out on her cheating lover.The two then spend 24 hours together, commiserating on each other's troubles, neverdaring to break the romantic vows that bind them to their respective dilemmas untilthe end.
Despite plaintive ballads suggestinghow moving the whole exercise is, Heden's picture istypical matinee fare, something which should be reflected in its theatrical prospects.After a quick transition to television it should likely find its natural levelin adequate afternoon TV slots. It premiered at Tribeca.
The mood is set through the opening,shot in black-and-white like the other flashbacks throughout the piece. Drenchedby a Florida outpour, Sid (Stewart) and Coreen (Nelson),cling to each other in the final tryst of what is clearly a doomed affair. Inthis instance they are presented without sound and seem somewhat remote: thesame scene is then repeated at the film's end with an explanation of theseparation. By then, however, no one in the audience is likely to care.
This is in part because thereal heart of the story is in colour and in the present, as incurable romanticSidney later sends Coreen a ticket to New York,asking her to meet on the top floor of the Empire State Building at a certaintime and date. To prevent her rejecting his plan, he throws his mobile phoneaway, entrusts his dog to the neighbour and heads for the Big Apple himself.
At a coffee bar early in theday he meets the forlorn Amy (Woods), who had come to town with her lover.Confronted by her partner's infidelities, she now needs somewhere to spend the next24 hours while awaiting her flight back to San Francisco the following morning.
Sidney and Amy end upsharing a table - and there is no way they can avoid spending the rest of theday together, he waiting for the fateful moment when Coreenwill (or will not) show; she biding her time until heading back west.
The rest of New York Waiting then runs its predictablecourse: Coreen is clearly in the past, Sidney and Amyare clearly suited to each other and sooner or later true love will prevail.
Both Chris Stewart and AnnieWoods are adequate, if little more than that, and neither should expect bigthings after their performances here. Stewart fares somewhatbetter as the tenacious and faithful Sid, while Woods employs her pert face toadvantage.
Heden's dialogue rings true enough, although it lacks thesparkle that might have lifted this effort above similar run-of the-millmatinee products.
Photography establishes NewYork as a city for lovers, with careful if unoriginal choice of outdoorslocations such as Central Park, all bathed in photogenic sunshine, as the sitefor the obligatory soulful exchanges.
Technical credits aresatisfactory; black-and-white sequences are least visually arresting.
Way Feature Films