Libby Day was only eight years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Almost thirty years later, she reluctantly agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
As we follow a mother (Jennifer Connelly) and her son (Cillian Murphy), we delve into a past marred by an accident that tears them apart. She will become a renowned artist and healer, and he will grow into his own as a peculiar falconer who bears the marks of a double absence. In the present, a young journalist (Mélanie Laurent) will bring about an encounter between the two that puts the very meaning of life and art into question, so that we may contemplate the possibility of living life to its fullest, despite the uncertainties littering our paths. Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
BEWARE: US theatrical release is cut by at least 15 minutes
Some time ago, my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati started showing the trailer for this movie (which now is 1 1/2 yr. old), and I was really looking forward to seeing it. Then the trailer disappeared, and finally this weekend the movie showed up. I figured this would not be playing long so I went to see it right away.
"Aloft" (2014 release from Canada-Spain-France; running time: TBD) opens with the character played by Jennifer Connelly (later we learn her name is Nana) and her two young boys, named Ivan and Gully, trying to catch a ride somewhere out in a remote 9and very cold) area in Canada. They go to a mysterious gathering of what looks to be a faith healer. Shortly thereafter we are informed "20 Years Later", where we get to know now grown-up Ivan, married and with a young baby. One day a Canadian journalist shows up out of the blue at Ivan's house. She informs him she is going up into the Arctic circle to go interview his mom and she wonders if Ivan wants to join her. At this point we're not even 15 min. into the movie but to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience.
Couple of comments: firsts, this movie is written and directed by Peruvian director Claudia Llosa. She previously brought us the outstanding movie "The Milk of Sorrow", so that, along with the intriguing trailer, had given me high hopes for "Aloft". Alas, things are not that simple: "Aloft" is not a straight-forward movie, and it takes a LOT of time before I was able to piece together what the heck was going on. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it does require serious paying attention to the movie. The director jumps back and forth between the two story lines (separated by 20 years) throughout mots of the movie. The Big Reveal comes about 75 min. into the movie, and from then on I was very much into it. Second, Jennifer Connelly brings an outstanding performance as Nana, not always a likable character. Connelly is intense and emotive. Also nice work from Cillian Murphy as the grown-up Ivan, and last but not least also kudos to the 2 boys playing the young Ivan and Gully.
However, I have a major complaint about this release. It was listed at the theater and also here on IMDb as having a running time of 112 min. The version that I saw in the theater was at least 15 minutes shorter. When I started looking into it, I read the plot summary as it's posted on Wikipedia, and there I learned of several KEY PLOT points that were missing entirely from the cut that I saw. As you can imagine, I am completely disgusted with the US theatrical release and, regardless of the ultimate quality of the movie (which is not bad, although certainly not without challenges), I cannot recommend to anyone to see this movie in the theater. I have no idea whether the subsequent DVD/Blu-ray release will have the original longer version or the US shorter version, or both. Sadly, this is not the first, not the second, nor the third or last time this has happened to foreign movies being released in the US.
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