Vital Signs

Seeing Is Not Believing

The Limey
Produced by Artisan Entertainment
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay by Lem Dobbs Released by Artisan Entertainment

The Insider
Produced by Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Michael Mann
Screenplay by Eric Roth from a Vanity Fair article
by Marie Brenner
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

Pokemon: The First Movie
Produced by 4 Kids Entertainment and Shogakukan
Directed by Michael Haigney and Kunohiko Yuyama
Screenplay by Norman J. Grossfeld and Takeshi Shud (English version)
Released by Warner Bros.

If it is to succeed, a narrative film, whether fact or fiction, must persuade us to believe in its events as they unreel before our eyes. Of the three movies being reviewed this month, Pokemon comes closest to achieving this holy grail of storytelling. The other two, The Limey and The Insider, mock our will to believe at every turn.

The Limey is misconceived from frame one. Let's begin with director Steven Soderbergh's choice of 60-year-old Terence Stamp to play the title character. Stamp is David Wilson, a British career criminal come to Los Angeles to revenge his daughter's murder. He's supposed to be a tough, relentless Cockney with street-trained reflexes, a man who inspires fear in all he meets....

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