Caveman’s Valentine, The


sleeping dog

Rated: R
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore, Ann Magnuson
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Writer: George Dawes Green form his own novel

While The Caveman’s Valentine certainly gives Samuel L. Jackson an opportunity to exercise his acting muscle, neither the plot nor his star status is compelling enough for me to recommend this odd “whodunit”. What it does offer is an interesting look into the mind of a schizophrenic. But for the sake of the film’s value, you really would have to care enough about the person in whose mind you’re peeking. But, it doesn’t happen here.

We’re presented with Jackson’s Romulus Ledbetter, a New York park cave-dwelling Julliard-trained pianist who has lost his mind to an obsession he calls “Stuyvesant” (actually several New York historical figures rolled into one), a perceived sinister force who controls people’s minds via Day-Glo green “z-rays”. Romulus can hardly pass a day without experiencing z-ray attacks or frightening visions of wicked angel men (whom he calls “moth-seraphs”) taking flight. One day, Romulus discovers the frozen body of a young man outside his cave. And from that point on, this conspiracy-minded ranter becomes a fairly well organized private investigator out to track down the young man’s killer. There just isn’t enough character development to make us believe that Romulus is truly capable of taking such action; he bounces between lucidity and lunacy and we’re asked to buy into the whole scenario.

Some of the special effects depicting Romulus’ delusions are well presented, even formidable at times, and we get a tinkling of rapturous piano music here and there. Colm Feore plays David Leppenraub, a well-renowned and egotistical photographer of torture images whom Romulus believes is the culprit and Ann Magnuson plays his impressionable sister Moira. Their parts are small and neither adds to the appeal of the film.

Lotta says
The Caveman’s Valentineis strange stuff and not particularly worth experiencing.

Reviewed 11/3/01