This revelation is at first nonplussing but once he overcomes the silliness of the entire concept of being nothing more than a computer generated mechanism/puppet, the soon-to-be hero accepts the programmer's statement as fact. As the days of the week go by, the cafe where he stations himself undergoes a great many changes and the people connected with it experience a lifetime of drama in relatively short amount of time. Cafe is a movie that deserves our attention because it is intricate and not a little bit fascinating.
Directed and written by Marc Erlbaum, Cafe is a film that challenges the limits of virtual reality and the human imagination. Jennifer Love Hewitt's character runs a coffee shop. She is involved with a man that is a spiteful woman-beater and is having trouble extricating herself from their relationship. Her coworker played by Daniel Eric Gold is madly in love with her but he is too socially inept to reveal his true feelings. The owner of the cafe keeps his identity a secret. His motivation is to watch all of the passers-by and customers. He observes them and writes a semi-fictionalized account of their lives and activities. This includes a cheating spouse and his demure would-be mistress (Michaela McManus).
The central character (thematically) is a computer generated avatar (enacted by Hubbel Palmer) created by a computer programmer (Katie Lowes). Together they are the architects of all things in the cafe. Their world is fraught with drama and danger. Perpetually setting up shop at the cafe is a drug dealer portrayed by Jamie Kennedy. His character is meddling in the lives of everyone around the community. At once Kennedy's character is gentle and sweet and sinister and dangerous. It is the moment when the comedian tries to turn into a full-fledged actor.
Just as the architect envisioned, life at the cafe is riddled with tragedy and conflict. The actors are nothing special on their own, but the culmination of their performances makes Cafe a fascinating and engrossing movie. I simply could not divert my attention. For a film that occurs primarily inside of a small coffee shop with only a handful of mainstay actors, Cafe sure is a dandy. It is imaginative and nicely orchestrated for an independent film.
Member Florida Film Critics Circle
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