Another must-see at the 2008 Phoenix Film Festival, we realized, since it got made by the producers snagging Minnie Driver in a lead role. Great film; shot with lighting and/or film stock that conferred a washed-out, bluish graininess to reflect the drear, grim thrust of the story. Reminded me of the filmic feel of last year's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," reviewed in this space a few months ago; then we had to defend our dwelling on Marisa Tomei's extended frontal nude scene in it in a later issue.
"Take's" gist was, crime victim (Driver) is on a road trip, on her way to witness the execution of the guy who caused her loss. That guy--what a loser. Much of the film follows his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Which gets worse and worse that way as a consequence of his bad choices, granted. Like in "Devil." But. The narrative arc of convergence of convict on victim or victim on convict is paralleled by the story-within-the-story of the convergence of the two on the infamous day of the crime.
We didn't stay for the Q&A, but I wanted to ask the producer or director, did you see this as an anti-death penalty film? Because it seemed to me to say, "If the victim can forgive the transgressor, what business does society have insisting on its vengeance?" (As a hyper-rational guy, I recognize that's an emotion-based argument, not a logical one. I have other, unassailable reasons for opposing the death penalty.)
Anyway, an excellent film; maybe, along with "The Visitor," the best of the fest. And, an awesome acting job by Jeremy Renner, as the down-and-out, reprehensible, hapless Saul. I'm just damn glad they didn't name him that because he was going to have a "Paul on the road to Damascus come-to-Jesus conversion" as his execution drew closer. In fact, he put up a pretty good fight, argument, against the chaplain sent in to give him final rites, solace, what-have-you. A fine film--almost caustic to watch, but full of integrity, intensity. (For more film-osophy of this ilk, as well as "Fake News," humor, satire, news and opinion, visit the online version of our print publication, or google it and click on the link for its blog.)
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