I only have ice for you...
Mystery, Alaska
Review by Ross Anthony

For as cold as it gets up north, these people sure make a warm picture.

Russell Crowe (of "LA Confidential" fame) is convincing, compelling and infinitely likeable as John Biebe the anchor of the Mystery city Saturday pond-hockey team. Mystery is a snow-covered town where everyone knows everyone (occasionally a little too well). The heart and pride of the small community is solidly routed inside that little black puck.

Enter Charles Danner (Hank Azaria), a former Mysterian displaced to the east coast. He arranges to copter in the New York Rangers for a bit of high sticking on the cold ice. "Mystery doesn't have much, but it does have its dignity and its illusions," Judge Walter (Burt Reynolds) warns, "I suggest you cling to both." It's an interestingly different role for Burt, though his stern caution is ignored and Mystery goes on to mix it up with the NHL team.

David E. Kelley of "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice" (to name just a few fine credits) provides a quality script appropriately backed up with equally fine direction, acting and a powerful score. Aside from a sad moment where my throat was all caught up in knots, I was smiling. I love the opening sequence: a lone player skating atop a winding frozen river.

Mystery, Alaska. Copyright © 1999.  Rated R.
Starring Russell Crowe, Hank Azaria, Mary McCormack, Burt Reynolds, Colm Meaney, Lolita Davidovich, Maury Chaykin, Ron Eldard, Ryan Northcott (Weeks), Michael Buie, Kevin Durand (Tree).
Directed by Jay Roach.
Written by David E. Kelley and Howard Baldwin.
Produced by David E. Kelley and Sean O'Byrne at Hollywood Pictures.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:04:03 PDT