A Kiss Before Dying
Released back in 1999 "One More Kiss" starring Valerie Edmond and Gerard Butler, is one of those nothing British movies. Calling it nothing may sound harsh but it is a movie which never really goes anywhere and delivers nothing leaving you with an empty feeling when it comes to an end. "One More Kiss" is a strange often mismatched movie which is neither very dramatic nor sentimental and features moments of humour which feel out of place and a soundtrack which is as mismatched as the movie itself.
After discovering she has terminal cancer, Sarah (Valerie Edmond - Made of Honour) leaves her life in New York and heads back to he home town in Scotland to look for her childhood sweetheart, Sam (Gerard Butler - Law Abiding Citizen). But Sam is now married and when Sarah turns up on his doorstep wanting to spend time with him while she can his wife doesn't take kindly to the prospect.
"One More Kiss" starts on an odd footing ushering in the movie with a musical score which makes you believe that this is one of those low budget thrillers from the early 90's rather than a drama from the end of the decade. The choice of music is only the start of the issues for a movie which thanks to an interesting storyline should be both dramatic and poignant, yet it is neither of these. Director Vadim Jean seems to have missed the emotional side of the drama and in doing so missed the whole point of the movie which ends up being a slow progression of nothing. Scenes which should be packed full of emotion feel inadequate, even somewhat lifeless in their delivery. It gives the movie a quiet feel as if nothing ever happens, or at least nothing of significance that the director wants to focus upon.
The same happens when it comes to the romantic side of "One More Kiss", it feels underplayed as if the director didn't have enough confidence to embrace it. With a storyline which sees your first love return it should be a very strong element, especially as that person is dieing and causes issues within a marriage. But there is nothing, romantic scenes feel limp and unbelievable as does the attempts to show old feelings being rekindled.
But where I really struggled is the glossing over of the hard hitting storyline about Sarah's impending death. The movie is not so much glib in it's delivery but scared to really delve into this storyline, preferring to gloss over those hard hitting elements. What this means is that at times "One More Kiss" feels slightly unsettlingly as the upfront way Sarah deals with her own funeral arrangements down to the choice of food, music and producing a video of herself to be shown just doesn't feel right.
Despite all this criticism it does have a couple of moments where it does deliver something significant, but then because everything feels a little wrong these moments which work actually end up feeling out of place and don't gel into a very low level movie.
Problems continue when it comes to the performances Valerie Edmond never feels real as someone facing sudden death whilst Gerard Butler in one of his earlier movie roles looks ill at ease during most of the movie, lacking confidence in his own acting ability. They honestly are not helped by some cheap dialogue which makes their characters feel completely unreal. Thankfully "One More Kiss" also stars James Cosmo who in a role as Sarah's father Frank does a decent job of delivering something close to real as well as delivering a few moments of believable sentiment. But the trouble is all the characters are 2 dimensional, we never know enough about them to ever feel for them.
Back to the soundtrack and I have to say it is one of the most eclectic selections of pieces I have heard in a movie for a while. The intro piece just gives the movie a wrong feel and a few classical/ operatic pieces just hit you in the face rather than delivering any feel of emotion. But then there are some more contemporary pieces which give it a completely different feel. In the right places the soundtrack would have been good but here they just seem misplaced and chosen for the wrong reasons.
What this all boils down to is that "One More Kiss" is honestly a disappointing movie which never manages to make the most of Suzie Halewood's screenplay. It often feels like it is holding back, never wanting to commit to being hard hitting, dramatic and emotional leaving it sitting on the fence for far too much of it's length. Add to this some weird and unsettling moments of humour and a soundtrack which is just wrong and sadly "One More Kiss" is a nothing movie.