Movie Review by EDF
Starring: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Alexis Llewellyn
Director: Susanne Bier
Good grief. This expression is used when an unforeseen incident happens or unbelievable news is received. Good grief would not be used to describe THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE as it looks at how people cope through bad situations. Knowing how much the Oscar shortlist usually like their movies that feature characters going through personal tragedies, we have potential Oscar nominated performances from both Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, which their fans will thoroughly enjoy. As for the rest of us, prepare to spend two hours with people who are potentially going through the worst situations that life can throw at you.
Brian (David Duchovny) and Audrey Burke (Halle Berry) are a happily married couple with two children. Brian has his own business and even though he is well off, he is always looking after his friends. More so his old school buddy Jerry Sunborne (Benicio Del Toro) who has an ongoing drug problem. Brian regularly calls in to Jerry, buys him groceries and makes sure he is alright. Audrey though does not understand why Brian should waste his time with such a loser. Her suspicions are confounded when some money she left in the car goes missing and she finds out that Brian had Jerry in the car with him.
One day, when Brian goes to the local store to pick up some provisions, he tries to stop a domestic dispute and is killed for his efforts. Audrey initially does not want Jerry to attend Brian’s funeral and on the day, she sends her brother to inform Jerry that Brian had died. Wearing a slightly oversized suit, Jerry attends the funeral but he is uncomfortable being there. A little while later, Audrey finds the missing money under the car seat and her opinion about Jerry changes. Audrey realises that Jerry was someone Brian could trust enough to help and knows that Jerry would not bite the hand that offered help. Audrey offers Jerry a job and a place to stay to help rebuild a wing of the house that had caught fire. Jerry accepts the offer and soon even Audrey’s children looks on Jerry as their new father. Audrey’s perception about Jerry suddenly changes and she tries to push Jerry away without realising what the consequences for all involved would be.
The way the story is delivered during the first part of the movie is through a series of jumped time sequences which is a little confusing when you are trying to piece together what is actually happening. We see Audrey not being able to walk into Brian’s study to reply to emails received in his inbox. Audrey gets her brother to reply to those emails as if Brian is still alive- not that we know Brian is dead at this point in the movie. Hence the movie starts jumping about to Brian and Audrey being a normal loving couple and then it jumps to the funeral and then back to the happy couple. It is also a bit of a stretch to believe that Duchovny and Berry would ever be a couple and despite both actors trying to persuade us that there is a spark between them, it’s just not convincing enough. As for Del Toro, he adds a little bit of humour and his character is more sympathetic than Berry’s, who at one point in the movie makes a decision that is completely out of character. The cinematography is very good but there are too many close up shots of people’s eyes.
THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is at best a TV movie script starring Hollywood actors and at one point in the movie, one of the kids exclaims that the whole situation is like being in a sad movie. This movie will not only make you sad, it will make you feel so down and low, you will never be found with sonar. Good grief, here it is just bad grief.