You've got to hand it to the Gotham Awards. As they try to strive for relevancy amid the award season glut, they pull out the big guns, hoping someone out there will pay attention. I don't know if anyone is watching, but if they are, they might wonder what David Cronenberg's superb "A History of Violence" is doing nominated for Best Feature. Produced by the LA-based Benderspink (the duo who brought you "Monster-in-Law") and set up at New Line, with a budget of over $30 million, the film is decidedly out of place in an award show meant to highlight Gotham product with independent roots. Look, I'll give them a pass on "Brokeback Mountain" (Ang Lee and James Schamus are New Yorkers, after all), and "A History of Violence" is one of my favorite movies of the year. But really, does it belong here? How can "Keane," Lodge Kerrigan's masterfully low-budget psychological thriller compete, in all good faith, with these shimmering studio releases?
At least the attention-grubbing folks at FIND (formerly IFP/LA) set a budgetary limit at $20 million. Is the original Independent Feature Project trying to show up their breakaway, younger offspring by picking a film beyond their economy of means? Well, if they are, it just makes them look sillier than their Hollywood counterparts.