Movie Review by Dr Kuma
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes, Sean Penn, Douglas Henshall, Alun Armstrong
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
This is a strange hybrid; a ‘near-future’ (not so much sci-fi) romantic thriller which has a great deal to say about life, the universe and everything. It’s the story of two people (Phoenix and Danes) on the eve of a divorce settlement and their attempts to save their relationship in this near-future world on the brink of cosmic collapse.
To try to describe the events in this film in a coherent manner would spoil the enjoyment of the viewer trying to put all of the pieces of this visual jigsaw together in its 104 minute running time. Put it this way, when have you ever seen a film that features a remote third world village where atmosphere has ceased to exist and its occupants float? I kid you not. It brings a new meaning to the Indian rope trick.
The easiest way to describe this film, from the talented director of FESTEN, Thomas Winterberg, is that it’s a cross between the ice-skating movie THE CUTTING EDGE and THE STEPFORD WIVES. If this sounds strange to you now, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Its very relevant use of news reports showing how man is regressing as an intelligent animal the more intelligent he gets is very well conveyed. Winterberg uses the state of the planet to reflect man’s contempt and consumerism. It’s as though the Earth is the abandoned wife and man explores the cosmos, forgetting that home is where the heart is.
Worth mentioning, bar the excellent performances all round, is the superb work of composer Zbigniew Preisner, whose music really adds to the otherworldly feel to the film, adding depth to the films imagery.
This highly unusual piece of cinema will no doubt please the few lucky to see it as I doubt this will play outside the art house circuit. It’s an intelligent piece of filmmaking that deserves appreciation from those that realise that cinema is more than just a good car chase.
Dr Kuma’s verdict: Try and catch this as it’s not all about love, it’s also about many other things worth saying. It’s about saving more than a marriage.