As the most prominent Hollywood movies get louder and louder, there has been a less noticeable, but just as distinct, strand of independent films that do as fine a job portraying quiet moments as Hollywood does portraying man-eating snakes and volcanic eruptions. Heavy, the first feature from writer/director James Mangold, is one of the best of those films. Pruitt Taylor Vince plays a dramatically overweight man who works as a cook in his mother's (Shelley Winters) restaurant; his comfortable, sheltered way of life is tested when Liv Tyler takes a job as a waitress and his mother becomes ill. Heavy is the kind of deliberately slow-paced character study that allows carefully realized performances to shine. In the lead, Vince is especially notable, but credit should also go to Winters, Deborah Harry, Evan Dando and Tyler—this is the film that makes it clear she can act. Heavy does a fine job exploring an environment (small-town dives) that usually serves as a comical backdrop for lesser movies, and Mangold's accomplishment here is another reason to be excited about his upcoming Cop Land.
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