Mystery Alaska is an often overlooked film that is of tremendous quality staring Russell Crowe, Burt Reynolds and Hank Azaria. The film is full of compassion, adultery, comedy, loose women, pride, civic duty and extreme love for each other. It is a movie about a hockey team in a small town in norther Alaska that has been playing a Saturday game for years on end. They play against members of the town and the town elders pick who will be on the teams. This time things are changing, the ice they play on is changing, the rules they play by are changing and they are going to be playing the New York Rangers, a professional hockey team. This one game has the potential to destroy the lives of the whole town.
Each person in the town has a story to be told and the film does a wonderfully brilliant job of showing you how the lives of each are intertwined with the others in the town. It is not a dry drama or a poor little old me story, it is a tale that is close to the heart and will drag you right into the story. Some have said that they tried to add to much into the film, that it was disjointed and not linear enough. I disagree, the way that the film was made there really is no other way that the story of the film could be shown.
One of the most tender and poignant scenes in the film is when John, the sheriff crosses out almost all of the word on a Dear Abbie column and then hands it to his wife to read. This is definitely one of Russell Crows best dramatic performance, even more then Gladiator. That one scene will choke you up and bring tears to your eyes and make you think of the one that you love.
We see in the film just how it is that each person is able to take a hold of their personal demons and rid themselves of the influence it is having on their lives. We see each mature and grow up before our eyes and love them all the more for it. You have the town sheriff that is married to his childhood sweetheart dealing with an old flame of his wife’s coming back to town. We have a judge that never got to play the Saturday game but was a wiz at the game in college and he has a grudge against the town for not letting him play. An old broken down attorney that seems to have more heart then the whole state. A casanova that seems to be trying to sleep with every woman in town and realizing that he doesn’t have to. These characters and more are what fills this movie and the town of Mystery with a charm and passion that you will feel as you watch the film.
Even with all that is happening with this film it is still one that can be watched with the whole family, even with your kids, though one kid in the film does have a speech problem, foul speech that is. It is funny when it needs to be and serious when it should be. This is one film that you are going to want to watch again and again and be able to see Crow at his best. There is nothing phony about this film, it is real in a fantastical scene of events that will change the hearts and lives of this small town forever. See you in Mystery!