Had a friend over for dinner the other night and while looking through my DVDs found this movie which (as a Keitel fan) she had missed. I hadn't watched it in a couple of years and we popped it in and watched this little gem! It didn't do anything at the box office, but is very well cast and worth watching IMO.
D'Onofrio is wonderful as the English teacher (even though a supporting role), adding the little, careful touches that flesh the character out!
I will give one example of his performance that makes him remarkable as an actor. In one scene he is pacing around his class of female students, walking up and down the aisles reading aloud from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. He becomes so caught up in the words and imagery of what he is reading that he stops dead in his tracks and falls silent, marveling at the work. The silence makes some of the bored and inattentive students look around, but it is D'Onofrio's look that is compelling. He looks around the class of disinterested girls as if to say "Isn't that beautiful? Do see how wonderful a writer Whitman is?" His look searches the faces for a spark of interest or mutual appreciation and understanding, finds none and continues his pacing and reading aloud.
I remembered while watching this time, that the first time I watched the DVD I was so affected by D'Onofrio's performance that I tracked down my favorite college English professor and wrote him a letter telling him about the movie and how much his support as a teacher meant to me then in college and had continued to the current time in my life. I had been out of college 15 years at that point and we've been staying in touch since then!