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Challenging, absorbing another John Sayles gem cut distinctly different - more than meets the eye
Once again, as do all John Sayles films, this is no Hollywood fare. There are no easy answers or solutions to the questions raised or problems illustrated. John Sayles gives his insightful subtle approaches to another aspect of life and living, of ordinary people tackling everyday encounters and challenges. Nothing spectacular (yet it is quietly spectacular). It's another multi-character study, and Sayles is very good at telling the story and providing the different premises and details in a seemingly casual manner. Sayles fans know it will not be a boring journey - life lessons will be assimilated.
In LIMBO, photography is skillfully delivered by veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler (the unforgettable "Medium Cool" 1969, which he also wrote and directed; "The Thomas Crown Affair" 1968 with director Norman Jewison; two with Sayles: "Matewan" 1987, "The Secret of Roan Inish" 1994). Here, graphic detail shots are included on fishing, informing us of the intricacies involved - it's Sayles ingredients to the core.
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, as always, a tour de force. She gets to demonstrate what a wonderful singer she can be. She did a terrific job - she sings so well that it sounds like Judy Collins at times! David Strathairn, for once, is not in a supporting role. He is in the male lead role and as expected, a quiet sensitive delivery of his character as a fisherman incognito. There is mother and daughter tension at play here. Vanessa Martinez played the teenage daughter and what a superb performance - hers is no easy role. The segment by the campfire where she reads from a diary book, her subtle expressions and poignant portrayal complete this triangle of complex emotional cauldron a-brewing yet she held her own in capturing our attention on her touching delivery.
This is not an easy film to consume - it provides mind probing and requires reflective thinking. A John Sayles fan MUST-SEE, or anyone who's ready for a different movie and a change of pace.
Music is by Mason Daring. As usual, the film is written, directed, and edited by John Sayles himself.
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