When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
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Julia is a drunk. She loses her job in real estate and at an A.A. meeting meets a neighbor, Elena, an addled Mexican woman who talks about having lots of money and a plan to kidnap her own son from the boy's grandfather, a wealthy businessman. Elena wants Julia's help. Julia says yes with her own plan to do this alone. Following Elena's plan, Julia manages to grab the boy, Tom, who's about 10. Now what? She asks for a ransom. Tom's grandfather and his money are connected directly to Mexican drug trafficking, so Julia is up against long odds. Will anyone make it out alive? Written by
When Julia finds Tom unconscious in the desert, she gets out of the car and shouts Tom's name several times as she runs towards him. Listen carefully, and you'll hear Tilda Swinton calling out 'Tom' with her real life English accent instead of her character's American accent. See more »
You know, the people here, they're really nice to each other. You can feel safe here. And we can help you. I know you. You live right across from me, we're neighbors.
Well, I'm not really down with the good neighbor shit.
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Lately, I have become a big fan of Tilda Swinton. It started off with her villain stand-out role in The Chronicles of Narnia, then I saw her alongside George Clooney in Michael Clayton, where she stole her scenes. Recently, I saw her in her best work yet, We Need To Talk About Kevin, so it was just a matter of time before I saw Julia, and it's plot interested me.
Julia is a pretty straight-forward crime thriller. It has a lot of twists and turns, and it always remains entertaining and intriguing. You want to know what's going to happen to Swinton's character and the boy she is taking for ransom. Julia becomes more and more likable as the film progresses and we stop seeing her as a villain. Swinton does a magnificent job too. I have never seen her play a role like this before, and it's without a doubt her showiest performance, since Julia is the showiest role. Credit has to be given to the way she so casually makes Julia someone we actually root for as the film goes on. Not many actors would have been able to do this, but she does it gracefully, and she gets better as the film goes along because instead of just a cartoon that we first saw in the beginning, we see a woman with fears and real feelings as well.
Now, the film isn't perfect... far from it. It feels sort of disjointed. Like I said, Swinton easily slips into another persona, but without any help from the script. Many films make it really believable the way a character slips into different attitudes, but this film doesn't really. Swinton does sort of transition it, but behind her incredible performance, you can easily see that the script expects us to believe the way this character starts acting differently. Too fast, without any real depth and not subtle, or even fitting to the film. Still, t's plausible barely just because of Swinton.
The problems still keep arising though, especially when we enter Mexico. I never really have a problem with the way Mexicans are portrayed, since I don't take offense easily, but this rubbed me the wrong way. Their manner of speaking, their actual language. I'm not saying it's completely off the mark, but something about that storyline upset me. Maybe it has to do with the thin characterization, or the execution, or the direction. All I know is that what only kept me watching was finding out all of Julia's story. I am also not one to dismiss endings because they aren't "complete", but here it didn't work well. I wanted it to finish, for it to reveal the fate of this character. This sort of abrupt ending only works specifically for certain powerful films, and since this isn't, it just left me unsatisfied.
Overall, worth a watch for Swinton's magnificent performance, and I was actually more entertained than my rating will suggest, but the film is full of flaws within its story. A Breaking Bad story not nearly as engaging or as complicated as it wishes, but still not bad at all and remains a solid film. This feels like the performance Swinton won the Oscar for, just because of how extreme it is.
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