Silence of the Penguin

John Turturro as Heinz in Five Corners (1987)

Despite starring 3 of my favourite actors I'd never heard of "Five Corners" which made me feel a bit wary as if I haven't heard of a movie from the 80s the chances are it's not going to be that good. It was very much the simple fact that it starred Jodie Foster, Tim Robbins and John Turturro that made me want to watch as the simple synopsis of a former criminal returning from prison looking for revenge did little to entice me. In fact whilst that is what "Five Corners" is about it is only part of a whole mixing pot of ideas, characters, drama and humour which makes for a more curious rather than quirky movie.

Having been released from prison Heinz (John Turturro - The Color of Money) returns to The Bronx with things to settle as time inside has done nothing to calm him other than make him realise who he is. The reason for his incarceration is Linda (Jodie Foster - Candleshoe) who he tried to rape and still has a thing for but she is well aware of his return and whilst her on-off boyfriend James (Todd Graff) wants to protect her she goes to speak to Harry (Tim Robbins - Top Gun

Jodie Foster as Linda in Five Corners (1987)

) who saved her when Heinz tried to rape her. The trouble is that Harry has tried to change and he is no longer a fighter and whilst willing to help Linda is now all about the love.

The main storyline to "Five Corners" which is the return of Heinz looking to have Linda is not a bad one because it has a diversity of characters from the dangerous Heinz to the now passive Harry. It may not be the most original of ideas but with several disturbing scenes including a shocking penguin scene it grabs your attention. In fact this storyline features the movies 3 strongest performances with both Tim Robbins and John Turturro delivering interesting characters whilst Jodie Foster is so natural in her delivery. Although having said that in Linda Foster has a lousy character who is inconsistent and spends part of the movie being carried around unconscious as if she was in a "King Kong" movie.

The trouble is that whilst we have this central storyline we also get a collection of others which range from the weird to the pointless. We have Sal who having tired of the glue sniffing Melanie and Brita pays two young men to take them off his hands for the night. This leads to a scene where Melanie, Brita and the two young men end up riding on top of lifts for no real reason. And then there is a death scene which sees an Algebra teacher shot in the back with an arrow. These other stories are curious and quirky and all somehow tie together into the main storyline but have no real point, there contribution ends up only filling in dead time.

What this all boils down to is that "Five Corners" is a curious and quirky movie which feels like someone had an idea for a storyline with some big impact scenes but then to fill out 90 minutes contrived a series of subplots to pad it out. It makes it a weak movie which in truth is really only interesting to watch the performances of Jodie Foster, Tim Robbins and John Turturro.

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