DIRECTOR: Martin Brest

Meet Joe Black is a very long film. 172 minutes for a story about Death taking human form to learn about life from the opulent Managing Director, Anthony Hopkins, who is literally at death’s door after suffering a heart attack. In exchange for more time, Hopkins takes Death, in the form of Bard Pitt, under his wing and they show each other how to live, blar, blar, blar.

It’s actually a very well presented film, with top acting, the exception being the ever annoying Claire Forlani, who plays Hopkins daughter and Death’s love interest. The pacing is delicate; The narrative is slow, but never really boring but is way too long for the subject. It seems to have been stretched out beyond all reason and does not need to be over 120 minutes, if even that.

The story has little peril and little in the way of incident. Just the overriding plotlines about Hopkins life’s work being usurped by his number one, his desire for his daughter to find love and the his own impending death. It is nice, gentle and unlikely to offend but it’s also ponderous at times.

But this is the Brad Pitt, complete with his early cheeky charm, before Ocean’s Eleven ruined him and made him into the self-assured, cocky icon. Joe Black, along with his role in David Fincher’s Se7en, stand as proof that he was a great actor before he became the Brad Pitt of the naughties.


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