Ensemble drama about conversations overheard in a bistro. Two chess players see unfolding dramas. A couple on an uncomfortable blind date, while a marriage crumbles. Film-noir fans thinks they're witnessing a real-life murder.
A woman's world is shattered after her sweetheart Billy is murdered in a random act of violence. After this tragic event she starts to dig around to find the killer of her husband. On her quest she reunites with her childhood best friend Joe who runs an after school program for children in his neighborhood.
I am disappointed that this movie did not see better box office ratings. It has many of the hallmarks of great movie-making.
The cinematography is terrific and a lot of thought is given to symbolism in the story.
The opening sequence is riveting; showing three lost souls each experiencing their own trials and turmoil.
A woman, whose husband was murdered, considers suicide in the alley where he was killed.
At the same time, two children are stealing from a store and must flee when spotted by security.
Finally, a man stumbles into his house in great pain.
While each character is suffering his or her trial, a storm is raging outside in the night.
Each character is on his or her own path and must face the storm in his or her own way.
Throughout the movie we learn a great deal about these characters through flashbacks as well as about the joys and hardships that bring each of the characters to where he or she is in the present. We do not know for sure what the fate of any character will be until the end of the movie.
I will warn you that the movie can be a tear jerker.
The movie has a way of capturing the subtlety of nature and its reflection of the human soul in a way that few movies can. The examples I list below are only a few of the many, brilliantly constructed scenes that appear throughout the movie.
A shadow falls on a character who is turning his or her thoughts to darkness and revenge. A ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds when a character makes a choice that is generous or brave.
...but off camera...
...simultaneously warns his little sister and the main character NOT to make a choice.
"I wouldn't do that!" his voice calls out.
It is clear to us as viewers, that as far as the child character is concerned, he is only warning his little sister.
But the director makes it clear to us that the warning is somehow meant for BOTH characters.
And now each character must make a choice whether to pursue the action that he or she is considering pursuing.
This very brief, but powerful scene, hints at a hidden unity to the human spirit and whether each character, major or minor, heeds this warning plays a significant part in forwarding the theme of the movie which is that while we have free choice, our choices can lead to devastation, sorrow and ruin or they can lead to enlightenment, joy and success.
And with each choice that a character makes, the cinematographers alter the scenery and the lighting of the surroundings to match the path that each character takes.
I can't offer enough praise to the writers and the cinematographers of this film. They clearly worked together and communicated together from day one of this movie's production.
I never felt, when watching this, that anything was overdone. The movie had the right balance of story, theme and scenery to ensure that the viewer did not come away feeling preached at or advertised to.
I showed this movie to a group of students who have faced numerous trials of their own, whether in school or at home.
They were a bit hard to the idea of the movie at first, but after ten minutes, they were hooked and the hardness in their eyes had vanished.
This movie can speak to anyone going through a trial and I highly recommend it.
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