Monday, December 1, 2008

LESS AS MORE, AND HOW TO BE A BETTER FATHER AT THE WORST OF TIMES


consider this review a recommendation for the film RESERVATION ROAD

at the onset, i can say that this film is not for everyone. it's simple. it's literary. it's emotionally stark and closer to the human experience than most of the bumble tumbling out of hollywood. plus, it invites the viewer into the drama in ways that disturb those normally approaching film for an escape. thus, i say this film is not for everyone. 

however, with that said, i really liked this film. i liked that the purpose here was not to wow anyone with pyrotechnics and movie making magic; the purpose was to tell a story, to explore people, to dig into questions that the average viewer hopes to never need a solid answer to. such questions are a hallmark of good art: bringing participants in contact with issues and ideas that are so outside our own reality the portrayal causes us to pause, to reflect, to be dug into.

RESERVATION ROAD explores two fathers' varied reactions to the same tragedy, particularly how these reactions bring their lives first into a shared orbit and then to a massive collision. the film also explores the toil of tragedy on a healthy marriage, as the viewers witness husband and wife initially clinging to one another and then, as the grief sets in, drifting apart.

for all the grittiness of the film's griefs and fears, RESERVATION ROAD does lead to a believable climax and honest redemption. not to mention, performances by joaquin phoenix and jennifer connelly are nothing short of heartbreaking. they took me there. they made me feel more than i was ready or willing to feel. i applaud them both.

the hamster gives RESERVATION ROAD 3.5 red sox pennants out of 5. it's a really good film - not great - that left me wanting more. honestly, that could be a good thing. many films make the mistake of giving us far too much. perhaps RESERVATION ROAD is a prime example of the old adage: less is more. in the case of grief and suffering, that may be all too true.

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