A Frenetic Fest

This year's Fort Lauderdale International Film Fest offers everything from terrorists to overamped adolescents

The force that combines all this surprisingly well is filmmaker Mark Richardson, a Martin Scorsese protégé who not only wrote, produced, directed, and edited the picture but is also the male lead. Richardson has rugged good looks and a considerable screen presence that occasionally verges on menacing, and he hits his stride in the acerbic exchanges between the bitter playwright and his ice queen of a mother -- played, in an inspired bit of casting, by Richardson's own mom, Margaret.

Swedish Beauty
Swedish Beauty
The Perfect Son
The Perfect Son

At his best Richardson the writer summons up Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee, two of his acknowledged influences. He falters in the scenes that bookend the film, involving the playwright's estranged wife and their son, but he compensates with a solid center that includes a real hurricane: He shot the storm footage during Hurricane Floyd's 1999 brush with the Florida coast near Vero Beach. (Wednesday, October 31, 7:15 p.m., Las Olas Riverfront, Fort Lauderdale; Saturday, November 3, 3 p.m., Las Olas Riverfront; 105 minutes)

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