Suzanne Stone (Kidman) knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be a television newscaster and she is willing to do anything to get what she wants. What she lacks in intelligence, she makes up for in cold determination and diabolical wiles. As she pursues her goal with relentless focus, she is forced to destroy anything and anyone that may stand in her way, regardless of the ultimate cost or means necessary.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
One of the few really good films of the modern era
I'm a little hesitant with my rating of 8 because this isn't really a film to be taken too seriously; having said that, I was glued to the screen and it holds up to repeat viewings so that says a lot.
It's peculiar that the closing credits of this film bear the usual disclaimer that "any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental" when the film is in fact the story of New Hampshire school teacher Pamela Smart, who did indeed co hearse a teenage student into murdering her husband in pretty much the exact same manner as depicted here. Writer Buck Henry has changed the characters name, occupation, and a number of the irrelevant details, but this is unmistakably the Pamela Smart story.
Played as dark comedy...! The heretofore unimpressive Buck Henry redeemed himself in my eyes with this wickedly amusing script.
While peppering us with the kind of mirroring observations about the shallowness and stupidity of the media and the society it reflects which makes us both laugh and squirm with more than passing discomfort, the top-notch cast masterfully play out the excellent script in such a mesmerizing fashion you simply will not believe nearly two hours are gone when it is over.
Nicole Kidman in particular displays intelligence and acting prowess I never imagined her capable of; she is in practically every frame of the film and while her character is truly despicable, you can't stop watching. The three teens, played by Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland (who stands out as the easily led girl with a not too subtle lesbian infatuation on Suzanne Stone) are engaging. Perhaps the best of the cast after the lead is Illeana Douglas as the deliciously smart ass sister-in-law, she had me in stitches! From the opening credits of rushing reporters superimposed over headlines and newsprint, to the closing credits overlaid with the rather brilliantly selected Donovan song Season of the Witch, this one is a must see film from an era of otherwise bland cinema.
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