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'Collaborator' starring Martin Donovan and David Morse shines at Philadelphia Film Festival


After watching several documentaries this past weekend at the Philadelphia Film Festival (which were all spectacular by the way), it was nice change of pace to sit back and enjoy one of the most anticipated movies the festival has to offer: ‘Collaborator,’ starring Martin Donovan (who also wrote and directed the film) and Philadelphia resident David Morse.

In the film, Donovan portrays Robert Longfellow, a New York based playwright whose career is at a crossroads following a string of disappointments with some of his latest efforts (his recent play lasted just two weeks). To further complicate matters, Longfellow’s marriage is on shaky ground as well.

Facing an uncertain future on several levels, Longfellow goes to his hometown of Reseda, California to visit his mother (Katherine Helmond) to try and make sense of it all. During his trip, Longfellow reconnects with Emma Stiles (Olivia Williams), an old friend who is now a Hollywood movie star. He also gets acquainted with Gus (Morse), a troublesome, psychopathic ex-con who grew up across the street from Robert.

Although the two never really spoke to each other growing up, they get to know each other quite well when Gus takes Robert hostage and a SWAT team surrounds his mother’s house. Through the emotional roller coaster ride of a standoff, Gus learns a little about Robert, Robert learns a little about Gus, the two learn things about themselves, and Robert (though quite traumatized) rediscovers what's most important in his life and becomes inspired again.

‘Collaborator’ is a tale of fate, melancholy, regret, irony, doubt, violence, drama and comedy that Joe and David Morse at the 'Collaborator' screening. Special thanks to Michael Adelman, Esq, for shooting the photo! effectively holds the attention of the viewer for the film’s 86 minutes.

Donovan, whom most will recognize as Agent Peter Scottson on the Showtime dramedy Weeds, loosely based the film and some of the characters on certain people he knew growing up in Reseda, where his character Longfellow also hails from.  

While Donovan is the film’s straight man in Longfellow, Morse’s Gus is the perfect foil for Donovan’s Robert. One of Hollywood’s most dependable and versatile actors, Morse’s portrayal of the hilarious, uncouth, foul-mouthed, and at-times explosive drunk who never made anything of his life completely contrasts from Robert. Although the two literally grew up 20 feet from each other across the street, they couldn’t be any more different, but the decisions the two have recently made (good or bad) will impact their lives as well as the lives of others.

The on-screen chemistry of Donovan and Morse are what drives the film as well as Donovan’s solid writing and directorial debut. Donovan offers enough twists and turns along the way to not make the film your average “hostage-holding, I know how this will end” drama.

So far, the results have been encouraging. ‘Collaborator’ recently won two awards at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: Morse for Best Actor, and Donovan took home the FIPRESCI Prize.

You can 'Like" 'Collaborator' on Facebook.

Click here for more information on the Philadelphia Film Festival 

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Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Special thanks to Michael Adelman, (one of the best attorneys in the Tri-State Area) for the David Morse photo. Check him out at  www.irsdefense.net