A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.A bus crash in a small town brings a lawyer to the town to defend the families, but he discovers that everything is not what it seems.
I honestly can't imagine anyone being moved by this film. It is too distant to be involving, too vague to be meaningful, too slow to be engaging and too cold to be emotional. But boy, oh boy, is it funny.
The dialogue is so odd and unnatural that it becomes comical. Note the stagy way in which the detective's daughter talks. `Welcome to hard times, DADDY', `I like it when you don't believe me DADDY.' Come on, playing a drug addict is easy just watch Courtney Love and imitate. Zoe doesn't sound drugged out but she must be because she always calls from a payphone where police sirens blast in the background. And Zoe comes off well in comparison to the unintentionally hilarious stroke victim and the Otto's who put their heads together, dry-eyed and sniffle, expecting us to believe that they are crying over their long lost son named, Bear, of all things.
Bravo to the generic and lifeless Sarah Polley who musters a tiny ounce of oomph to deliver `the big lie' at the end you know, the one she said she would NEVER tell. She even attempts to glare at her father and later; if you look really close, it's the beginnings of a grin.
How ridiculous is the scene where Ian Holm recounts a spider bite story that goes absolutely NOWHERE? Why doesn't he remember Alison's father? Why does he get stuck in a CAR WASH? What is wrong with this guy?
And why is creepy Billy a saint for trying to convince Nicole's father not to sue? This anti-sue-happy town sure is unrealistic. Oh, they're Canadian. Thank explains it. Sure Ian Holm's acting is bad but does he really deserve the town's wrath for trying to gain a buck?
There is a really cheesy time transition scene, which illustrates how confused director Atom Egoyan is. He thinks the audience needs to be hand held in order to comprehend the passing of time and yet he fails to explain anything else in this perplexing tale with similar clarity.
Would people really behave the way these people do and what does it all mean anyway? Detective Stephens says that our children are all lost to us. The Pied Piper story echoes similar sentiments. Some school kids are dead while others grow up to become drug addicts and are as good as gone. One strange girl lives and because she tells a lie she is now, apparently, more pure than anyone else in town and well, that's it.
It is always wise to heed the immortal words of Radiohead don't get sentimental, it always ends up drivel. The Sweet Hereafter doesn't even have enough power to illicit the feelings that sentimentality requires. It is the worst kind of drivel -the kind that attempts to be profound, fails and stumbles into pretension, leaving nothing worthy of redemption in its wake.
- Jul 21, 2004