Synopsis by Rebecca Flint Marx
Echoing the themes of Living in Oblivion and Irma Vep, David Mamet's seventh feature centers on the havoc wrought on the inhabitants of a small town by a troubled film production. After its leading man's propensity for teenage girls gets them banished from their New Hampshire location, a film crew relocates to the small town of Waterford, VT, to finish shooting "The Old Mill." As its title suggests, the film depends on the presence of a genuine mill, something the town is reported to possess. Unfortunately, with only days before principal photography begins, it becomes apparent that the mill in fact burned down decades ago. Unfazed, the film's director, Walt Price (William H. Macy), places his faith in the ability of first-time screenwriter Joseph Turner White (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to alter the script; what he doesn't count on is White's apparently bottomless reserve of angst-fueled writer's block. The film's leading lady (Sarah Jessica Parker) refuses to do her contracted nude scene unless she's give an ungodly sum of cash, while a foreign cinematographer offends the locals by messing with an historic firehouse, and the leading man, Bob Barrenger (Alec Baldwin), dallies with Carla (Julia Stiles), a crafty local teen. Everything comes to a head after Barrenger and Carla are injured in a car accident, which leads White to another emotional quandary and into the arms of Ann Black (Rebecca Pidgeon).
filmmaker, film-crew, mill, small-town, screenwriter, actor, bribery, film-director, film-producer
High Artistic Quality, Sleeper