Mick Jagger tames his Rolling Stones energy to ease into the role of Luther Fox, the dapper owner of a male-escort service in George Hickenlooper’s The Man From Elysian Fields. The film is a seductive morality tale about a strapped novelist (Andy Garcia) who helps support his family by letting Luther pimp him out to rich women. “Just to women?” asks the novelist. To which Luther nods: “Call me old-fashioned.”
Jagger delivers the line martini-dry, letting his lip curl with just the right twist-of-lemon wickedness. But his work digs deeper, especially when Luther proposes to a client (Anjelica Huston), saying, “If you don’t use success to enrich your life, then you’re just putting failure into Gucci shoes.” She laughs him off. Jagger invests the scene with painful vulnerability. He is subtly terrific. Jagger’s few screen roles — the Stones kept him busy — sold flash: In 1970 he was the outlaw in Ned Kelly and the druggy pop idol in Performance. Then nothing until the 1990s, when he played a bounty hunter in Freejack and a transvestite in Bent. Said his Performance co-star James Fox, “Once Mick discovered what acting was about, he wasn’t interested.” Well, he’s interested now. You can see it in Elysian Fields and in the formation of his own company, Jagged Films (this year’s Enigma was the company’s intelligent firstborn). Jagger the actor is someone you want to see again. Eat your heart out, Madonna.