Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2014

For his directorial debut, veteran cornball screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Story, Batman & Robin, Lost in Space, The Da Vinci Code) offers this cloyingly sincere and comically earnest adaptation of Mark Helprin’s 1983 moony New Age bestseller. Jeez, where to start? Suspend disbelief? Hell, you’ll need to check it at the door. In 1916, a Russian-born, New Jersey-raised burglar with a heart of gold and an unexplained Irish accent (Colin Farrell) finds love instead of loot when he breaks into a NYC mansion and lays eyes on the dying Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey). According to the story’s convoluted cosmology, everyone, like, has a miracle inside, see? When we die we become stars. God can send you a beautiful white horse with gauzy digital wings to get you out of trouble. Everyone is connected, and true Love can defeat Death itself. Russell Crowe is a demon disguised as a gangster who spouts a similarly inexplicable Irish brogue, and Will Smith in big earrings and a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt is Lucifer himself (that one put me on the floor). I kept expecting Doctor Who to pop up. Astoundingly awful. Japanese title: New York Fuyu Monogatari. (118 min)