May 2001
THE CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE from Universal Focus

Wilson Morales (New York)

THE CAVEMANíS VALENTINE from Universal Focus

Cast: Samuel Jackson, Aunjanue Ellis, Tamara Tunie, Colm Feore, Ann Magnuson and Anthony Michael Hall

Director: Kasi Lemmons

Screenplay: George Dawes Green, based on his novel

Music: Terence Blanchard

Cinematographer: Amelia Vincent

Four years ago, actress-director Kasi Lemmons (Silence of the Lambs) hit a home run in her directorial debut with EVEíS BAYOU. In her second feature, THE CAVEMANS VALENTINE, she proves that her first effort was no fluke, but falls short of emulating the same success. Anyone who watches enough movies would say that this is SHINE meets THE PLEDGE where traits of those films are evident in this one.

Samuel Jackson (who starred in "Eve's Bayou:") plays a homeless and crazed man who finds a dead body outside the cave he 's living in. While trying to solve the murder and dealing with the "demons" in his head, he's also looking for ways to reconnect with his daughter.

While this tale of Sherlock Holmes sounds formulaic, Lemmons incorporates a number of scenes involving black dancers that demonstrate what's in Jackson's mind. The scenes are visually stunning but they fail to convey a reason for their appearance. A background to the beginning of Jackson's craziness is never fully established, which is essential in knowing his character. Jackson gives a fine performance despite the script.