[box cover]

An Everlasting Piece

One's first passing thought on reading the title of Barry Levinson's film An Everlasting Piece might be that no director in his right mind should set up such an easy joke for reviewers with gutter-minds. Fortunately, Levinson's film isn't bad enough to take advantage of the obvious straight line. Unfortunately, it's not all that great, either. Barry McEvoy wrote and stars in this comedy about two Belfast barbers in the 1980s, one Catholic and one Protestant (McEvoy, Brian F. O'Byrne). After meeting on the job — cutting hair in an insane asylum — they quickly decide to go into business together as wig salesmen, cornering the Belfast toupee market. Soon they find themselves competing with rival wig salesmen to keep their territory, have run-ins with terrorists and wig-stealing dogs, and McEvoy has to decide whether to take an order for 30 hairpieces from the IRA at the expense of his friendship with O'Byrne. All of this is supposed to be charming and gently wacky in the vein of The Full Monty, The Commitments, or Waking Ned Divine, but the film feels curiously flat. Perhaps it's the fault of the director — Levinson's best works have all been small, personal films that seem to dig to varying degrees into his own life experiences (Diner, Avalon, Liberty Heights) while his worst films have suffered from a lack of connection to the material at hand (Toys, Jimmy Hollywood, Sphere). An Everlasting Piece falls somewhere in the middle, leaving the viewer feeling like it might have been a very good film, perhaps, if something had been different — if, perhaps, Levinson had some personal experience with the troubles in Northern Ireland in the '80s, rather than his extensive experience with suburban life in Baltimore in the '60s. Whatever it is that's lacking, the movie tries very hard to be likeable and art house-ish, but falls short of the mark. Too bad, because the actors are charming, Hans Zimmer's score is delightful, Seamus Deasy's cinematography is gorgeous, and the subject matter is worthy of further, better exploration. DreamWorks' DVD release of An Everlasting Piece offers a beautiful anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Theatrical trailer, keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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