THE AIR I BREATHE, 2007
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia, Emile Hirsch
Interweiving stories based on an ancient Chinese proverb that says all of human existence is broken down into 4 emotions: happiness, pleasure, sorrow, and love which work together like the fingers of a hand. These emotions are personified through a clerk, a henchman, a pop singer, and a doctor.
This stellar all-star cast brings to life 4 intricate and interweaving stories that are interesting to watch and leave a big impression. It's a sci-fi mobster medical romance with drama, action, comedy, and suspence... what more could you possibly ask for in an indie film?
A bank clerk with a love of butterflies and a dislike for his job and station in life (wishing he could be more like his young client that plays the stock market and always comes out on top) overhears some of his co-workers talking about a horse race that is a “sure thing” (because it's a fixed race). He follows his co-workers to a seedy gambling house where he wants to place a hefty bet. After learning that he can borrow money from the house toward his bet, the man increases his bet to $50,000 due to his inside knowledge. The horse that's “supposed” to win has an accident in the race and loses. Mobsters from the gambling house take the clerk face to face with the owner: Fingers. The mobster has the name Fingers because he cuts off the fingers of those who owe him money when they don't pay on time. He threatens to cut off the fingers of the clerk if he doesn't get his money on time. In order to get the money, the clerk decides to rob a bank. After the robbery, he flees to the roof to escape the police, but they have snipers at ready. When he refuses to give up and throws the money off the roof, the police shoot him dead.
One of Finger's henchmen has the ability to see the future of everyone he meets (except pop star Trista). Fingers has him take his nephew, Tony, out on the town to show him the ropes as the henchmen goes around to people who owe Fingers money. The henchman has a flash of Tony falling off a fence and being beaten up. In an attempt to keep the boy safe, the henchmen leaves him at a brothel while he goes to do his work. One of the people he meets is the clerk, and gives him the gun the man will use to rob the bank. The henchman rescues Tony from a bad situation, and in the end it's the henchman who falls off the fence to be beaten up! For the first time in his life, he is able to feel pleasure in the unknown (even if it meant being hospitalized) due to his vision being wrong for the first time ever.
Trista is a pop star who's manager owes money to Fingers. To repay his debt, the manager gives Trista's contract to Fingers. Not wanting to be ruled by a mobster, Trista escapes and runs into Fingers' psychic henchman who's been charged with finding her. The henchman is interested in Trista though, because he can't see her future, and decides instead to aid her by letting her hide out at his place. They become lovers, and Fingers finds out, tracking them down and killing his future-seeing henchman. By this point, though, Trista is pregnant.
The doctor who helped the future-seeing henchman in the hospital is trying to save the love of his life who's been bitten by a snake. The problem is she needs a blood transfusion and has a very rare blood type. The doctor sees an interview with Trista in which she reveals she has the same rare blood type he's looking for. He goes to get the pop singer, but is taken away by her security. When Trista is taken to a hospital later after hitting her head, the doctor saves her from committing suicide after she realizes she can't escape Fingers.
Despite the bad reviews “The Air I Breath” received by critics and Rotten Tomatoes, I thought it was absolutely brilliant!
The acting in this film is fantastic. The all-star cast shows off why they are stars as they each bring their unique characters to life in this amazing story of interwoven character studies. The twists and turns in the film become even more mind blowing when the effects of each character's actions show up in other characters' stories right up to the end when the final story becomes a part of the first story.
This movie is flawless, and I can't figure out why it has been disliked by the Rotten Tomatoes crowd (although, I feel like many reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes trash on good movies just to trash something... lots of trolls on the internet). The only thing I didn't like is that several of the main characters (the bank clerk, the future-seeing henchman, the doctor) are never given names and their official names in the credits are the emotions they each represent: happiness, pleasure and love.
“The Air I Breath” is a fantastic interwoven story on par with “Magnolia”.
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