Like most kids, Ned idolized his father and dreamed of following in his footsteps. Unfortunately, his father was a two-bit crook who spent most of his life in jail. Without a family of his ... See full summary »
David E. Allen
1921. An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island.
Returning home the morning after graduation, Jim Swanson discovers an intruder in his home. Only after tracking him down and running him over in his car does he find out the intruder is his best friend from university.
Joshua David Hall
[confronted by Ana in the prison holding room]
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I've tried to imagine... who you are, what your day was like before. I put together your entire life in a single moment.
[remembering the moment he held the gun on her]
I feel like I know you. I *don't* know who you are. Or what I have taken from you. For that I am so sorry.
I tried for so long not to give you a face. it's so much better when you don't have a face. All these details of you in my mind, in my ...
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This film exemplifies why the industry needs to keep encouraging the making of independent films. This film couldn't have come from a major studio.
The cinematography was cutting edge and experimental (a patent is even pending on a new camera rig, according to the DP at a Tribeca Q&A), and it worked well to saturate the viewer with the mood of each part of the film.
The writing was precise and tight, but the director allowed the force of the film to be carried more in its silences and in tiny nuances of expression than in dialog.
Which brings me to perhaps the most powerful of the film's elements: the acting. Without the right actors, the powerful message of the film in evoking the immense struggle surrounding rage and forgiveness would have been lost in the silences. Minnie Driver's face on one tight closeup after another showed nuances that were unbelievably powerful. Jeremy Renner's portrayal of a slow inexorable descent into darkness was captured flawlessly. And the little boy - Bobby Coleman (Driver's son in the film)- both enchanted with a completely natural portrayal of charming boyhood and terrified with a chilling reaction to what happens to him. Although young, he was completely real, with none of the Dakota-Fanning-blankness we've come to accept. In a sense, he was the linchpin of the film; if we hadn't cared about him and his relationship to Minnie, we would not have cried as we did.
The whole audience was in tears; be prepared. But...also be prepared to think, and wonder, and grapple with the film. It is well worth it.
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