The Caveman's Valentine

Overview

A man struggles back from madness to avenge the death of someone he knew in an intelligent thriller based on the acclaimed novel by George Dawes Green. Romulus Ledbetter Samuel L. Jackson once had a career as an acclaimed concert pianist, a position at the Juilliard School of Music, and a loving wife and children. But Ledbetter's life has been devastated by paranoid schizophrenia; now homeless, Ledbetter wanders the streets of New York City as he rails against Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant, a man whom he believes ...
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Overview

A man struggles back from madness to avenge the death of someone he knew in an intelligent thriller based on the acclaimed novel by George Dawes Green. Romulus Ledbetter Samuel L. Jackson once had a career as an acclaimed concert pianist, a position at the Juilliard School of Music, and a loving wife and children. But Ledbetter's life has been devastated by paranoid schizophrenia; now homeless, Ledbetter wanders the streets of New York City as he rails against Cornelius Gould Stuyvesant, a man whom he believes controls all the evil in the world while following his movements from a perch atop the Chrysler Building. Most nights, Ledbetter takes shelter in a cave in Central Park, earning him the nickname "the Caveman." One morning, Ledbetter discovers a frozen corpse caught in the branches of a tree near his cave; the body is that of Scotty Sean MacMahaon, a homeless drug addict who was close friends with his pal Matthew Rodney Eastman. Ledbetter is determined to get justice for Scotty, and he's also eager to prove himself to his daughter Lulu Aunjanue Ellis, now a New York City police officer. While Ledbetter is at first convinced that his nemesis Stuyvesant is responsible for Scotty's death, in time he focuses on another suspect: David Leppenraub Colm Feore, a famous photographer known for his controversial erotic images of young men, who occasionally hired Scotty as a model. As Ledbetter attempts to investigate Leppenraub's possible role in the murder, he soon gains an unexpected ally -- Moira Ann Magnuson, a noted sculptor and Leppenraub's sister. The Caveman's Valentine marked the major-studio debut for director Kasi Lemmons, who made an impressive debut in 1997 with the independent drama Eve's Bayou.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Kasi Lemmons' follow-up to her critical darling Eve's Bayou is a redemption tale of a musician turned homeless cave dweller turned amateur detective, and it proceeds with the same kind of ranting logic espoused by Samuel L. Jackson's title character. That is to say, not very clearly, and with paranoid concerns, that not everyone will care about or understand. It's a visually ambitious film, as Jackson's wonderfully named Romulus Ledbetter sees bursts of light from building tops (and winged demons in his head, courtesy of schizophrenia), which he blames on an imagined omnipresent villain named Stuyvesant. But these touches and an engaging performance from Jackson, framed memorably by dreadlocks that hang down the length of his back, are not enough to elevate the film into the mystical realm Lemmons created in Eve's Bayou. Underneath is a relatively standard whodunnit with uninteresting payoffs and obvious psychological motivators. The side story of Ledbetter trying to reconcile with his exasperated daughter doesn't interest much, either. What comment Lemmons and screenwriter George D. Green may have about real-world photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, on whom Colm Feore's shady artist David Leppenraub seems to be based, remains as murky as anything else. The Caveman's Valentine is a good example of a talented sophomore director unable to find material equal to that of her debut, leading her to misapply interesting storytelling techniques to a story that's beneath them.
Entertainment Weekly
There is pleasure in giving oneself up to the gusty swirls of the film's imagery, and especially to the handsome grandeur of its star. Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times - Elvis Mitchell
The Caveman's Valentine works as everything but a mystery, yet it is intriguing in a number of ways.

The Caveman's Valentine works as everything but a mystery, yet it is intriguing in a number of ways.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/22/2002
  • UPC: 096898868136
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Samuel L. Jackson Romulus Ledbetter
Colm Feore David Leppenraub
Ann Magnuson Moira
Aunjanue Ellis Lulu
Rodney Eastman Matthew
Tamara Tunie Sheila
Anthony Michael Hall Bob
Technical Credits
Kasi Lemmons Director
Pamela Abdy Co-producer
Roy Anderson Stunts
Michael Bennett Co-producer
Terence Blanchard Score Composer
Nicolas Clermont Executive Producer
Denise Cronenberg Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephanie Davis Executive Producer
Danny DeVito Producer
Glen Gauthier Sound/Sound Designer
George D. Green Screenwriter
James Holt Co-producer
Samuel L. Jackson Executive Producer
Michael Madden Set Decoration/Design
Elie Samaha Producer
Eli Selden Executive Producer
Michael Shamberg Producer
Andrew Shea Asst. Director
Stacey Sher Producer
Terilyn A. Shropshire Editor
Robin Standefer Production Designer
Tracee Stanley Associate Producer
Andrew Stevens Producer
Amy Vincent Cinematographer
Jonathan Weisgal Executive Producer
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