Hector Babenco's IRONWEED is a strange piece of work. It features strong performances by Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, but this tale of a schizophrenic bum trying to piece his life back together during the Great Depression takes some odd detours in Nicholson's stagey hallucinations of ghosts from his past. A collection of strong moments that never add up to a satisfying whole.
Jack Nicholson plays a bum with a shadowy past that keeps giving him surprises in this New York Depression-era visualisation. This film gives great attention to characters whom all share a lack of faith in themselves besides a certain financial difficulty to cope with in the everyday. They're nicely directed, but it seems to me that director Babenco settles for less when my empathy is about the only thing he's after.
A surprisingly sensitive and sympathetic portrait of poverty. No pity and no romanticizing, though also no analysis of the structures that create poverty. Excellent film, but too long. Jack Nicholson is great, Meryl Streep is even better, and nice to have Tom Waits there, too.