A Broken Sole

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Shoemaker/Broken Sole Prods.

NEW YORK -- The title of this three-part drama is a play on words. "A Broken Sole" refers not only to a damaged pair of shoes, but also the psyche of their owner. Sole, soul -- get it?

Sorry to be so obvious, but that's about the same level of subtlety evident throughout the film, directed by Antony Marsellis and featuring a screenplay by Susan Charlotte that is all too obviously based on a stage play. Several notable actors, no doubt attracted by their colorful characters and the overall pseudo-profundity, are trapped in this misbegotten effort concerning the emotional aftereffects of 9/11 on a variety of New Yorkers.

The first segment, set on the fateful day itself, depicts the encounter between a traumatized woman (Judith Light) and the opera-fanatic cobber (Danny Aiello) she desperately turns to for help with the shoe that was broken when she walked all the way uptown after the disaster. The initial edginess between the pair -- he wants only to close up shop -- soon dissipates when they bond over such things as their shared love for the movie "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis."

The second segment is an equally stagy dialogue between a harried real estate broker (Laila Robins) and the eccentric cabbie (Bob Dishy) who picks her up and then practically needs to be coerced to start driving.

The last two-character episode concerns the awkward encounter during the morning after a one-night stand that has occurred between a dyslexic film director (John Shea) obsessed with palindromes and an actress (Margaret Colin).

The artificiality of the proceedings, which are marked by schematic characterizations, obvious metaphors and stilted dialogue, is not alleviated by the director's choice of visuals, which at one point includes pointed close-ups of pairs of items all too obviously meant to evoke the twin towers.
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