Russell Crowe's Latest Dumped This Week on One Screen


Blink this Friday and you'll miss Russell Crowe's new film Tenderness. Actually, even if you don't blink, odds are good you'll miss it -- it's not playing anywhere but New York, on exactly one screen downtown for a week. So what exactly will you be missing anyway, at least until it trickles onto DVD sometime early next year?

It doesn't sound terrible or anything: An adaptation of Robert Cormier's novel, Tenderness centers around a teenage girl (Sophie Traub) who takes off on a road trip with a quietly psychotic young man (Jon Foster). He's just out of juvey for killing his parents and girlfriend on a medication binge -- a crime the girl apparently witnessed herself and makes her all the more obsessed with him. Meanwhile, believing the infatuated teen will be the psycho's next victim, the police lieutenant (Crowe) who put the boy away in the first place goes after the pair to save the girl. Suspense, drama and rites of passage (this is Cormier, after all) ensue, as do lots of brooding, if the trailer is any indication:

John Polson's your director, who goes way back to Aussie indies with his countryman Crowe. He's a serviceable thriller director (Swimfan, Hide and Seek), so this probably isn't as iffy as the spot above suggests. Tenderness found some critical traction back in Australia, but look: It's all about Foster, whose leading-man "qualities" have addled previous '09 dumpees The Informers and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and semi-dumpee Pandorum. [UPDATE: Yes, both Ben and Jon Foster are in this one.] That's Val Kilmer-levels of straight-to-videoness, folks, and probably not quite where the budding young star of The Door in the Floor thought he'd be five years after that film. And to take a guy like Crowe with him to the movie grave, bad mustache and all... that's an even more astounding accomplishment.

"Movie grave" might be exaggerating a tad: Tenderness will actually open Friday at Manhattan's Quad Cinema, so it will have at least one week of theatrical life before fading away. Requests for release-strategy comment from Lionsgate were not returned this afternoon, though a rep did briefly confirm that there is no wider theatrical release currently in the offing. (Which scuttles any Russell Crowe-Oscar-qualifying postulations, if they were really there to begin with.) Beyond exceeding the usual contractual minimums many distributors guarantee when acquiring a title like this, the no-L.A. policy remains a mystery for now.

Anyway, any commenters up for a Movieline civilian review on Friday? Or let's just make it a night show for all of us in New York, sneak in some egg nog and call it a holiday party, fair enough?

· Tenderness [Lionsgate]


  • Macca says:

    Tenderness is not Crowe's "latest" film. He made it two years ago, working on it only a couple weeks, for his friend John Polson. Obviously, Crowe has a supporting role, not a starring one.
    I'm not sure why the film hasn't got wider distribution, but I'd be interested in reading any NY viewers opinions on it. Reviews from overseas have been mixed.

  • You know what I mean -- by release date standards, it's his latest film. And regardless of the size of the role, what little promotion Lionsgate has offered pushes "Academy-Award Winner Russell Crowe" top-billed. It's not really Jon Foster's indignity at the end of the day, alas.

  • John says:

    "(Which scuttles any Russell Crowe-Oscar-qualifying postulations, if they were really there to begin with.)"
    Can u explain what that means exactly? Are u saying he doesn't deserve the title? Just wondering...

  • That means that anyone who tells you the one-week release is some sort of Oscar-qualifying strategy for Crowe is, well, wrong.