Review of 'Sidewalks of New York', director Edward Burns
New York is the setting for this exploration of love, deceit, and the neuroses of six people in and out of various relationships. 'Sidewalks of New York' is an attempt to understand the interaction of the city with its inhabitants, and the impact of this on their lives and their relationships.
The film is an exploration of alienation. We meet Griffin, who was introduced to sex when his dad took him to a prostitute at the age of 16. He is having an affair with a young woman who is trying to make sense of sex and her own oppression. Griffin's wife is a well bred Upper Eastsider, whose idealistic notions of fidelity and marriage lead her to intense navel-gazing until Griffin's behaviour provides her with a rude awakening.
The two younger women in the film show us the difficulties of developing self confidence when dealing with the impact of women's oppression. Maria, a Puerto Rican teacher, has married at an early age and is divorced by her early twenties. Ashley, who is having an affair with Griffin, treats other women with complete contempt, and is also being wooed by Benjamin, Maria's ex-husband, who has his own issues to deal with.
The theme of the film is the interaction that can occur between people who are connected in various different ways, but at the same time are completely atomised from each other in a large city.
Burns tries to put the dilemma of relationships in the context of the balance between sex and love and attempts to say that each individual will assess this balance according to the 'baggage' they bring with them from one relationship to another. He displays the motion of the city well, with the coming and going of the different characters. You will laugh while watching this, and you will be pleased at the changes that happen to the characters throughout the film, but if you want to come out feeling wiser and more able to understand your own neuroses, I'm not sure 'Sidewalks of New York' will do the job.