THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
Jon Foster as ART BECHSTEIN
Peter Sarsgaard as CLEVELAND ARNING
Sienna Miller as JANE BELLWETHER
Nick Nolte as JOE BECHSTEIN
Mena Suvari as PHLOX LOMBARDI
Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Studio: Phase 4 Films
BY KEVIN CARR
“The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” is the perfect example of what happens when a book that has a cult following gets made into a feature film: Nothing.
The story follows the aimless life of Art Bechstein (Jon Foster), a recent college grad who is loafing through his last summer of freedom. During the summer, he meets the beautiful Jane Bellwether (Sienna Miller) and her wild-child boyfriend Cleveland (Peter Sarsgaard). The relationship among the three becomes fun and exciting, but also dangerous on an emotional and physical level. Art uses this chance to push away from his powerful gangster father and find his own path.
I’ve never been a huge fan of this kind of murky coming-of-age story. At its heart, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” is a chance for the characters to whine about their lives without really doing anything about them. It tries to be daring, featuring a sexually liberating theme and a budding homosexual relationship between Art and Cleveland. However, the film just makes itself boring and aimless.
Sure, Sienna Miller is easy on the eyes, but her character has no depth, and I felt nothing for her or Cleveland. And Art is simply a pain because he has the world at his fingertips but he sloughs off in his final summer. Maybe it’s the parent in me, but I just wanted to kick everyone in the ass and yell, “Get a job, you losers!”
Sure, the book may be a fan favorite, and the author may have won the Pulitzer, but the movie is a chore to sit through.
The DVD comes with a behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the film. There’s another featurette about author Michael Chabon’s original book. The original theatrical trailer rounds out the special features.