|Written by AVRev.com|
|Sunday, 14 September 2008|
Writer-director, David Gordon Green, adapts the novel to the screen. Green, who is more notable as the director of "Pineapple Express" and "Undertow," does an extremely good job of capturing terrific performances from his actors. It doesn't hurt when you have some good actors.
Annie (Kate Beckinsale) works as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant and raises her daughter, Tara (Gracie Hudson) by herself. She left her alcoholic, abusive husband, Glenn (Sam Rockwell) and took on a married boyfriend, Nate Petite (Nicky Katt). But it is not just any married boyfriend, but the husband of her best friend, Barb (Amy Sedaris).
Meanwhile, the true main character of the film Arthur Parkinson (Michael Angarano), witnesses the lives of the adults around him falling apart. Arthur's parents split due to his father's cheating behavior. His father wants to get back with his mother, but is still seeing the other woman. This is the most cliché part of the film. At the same time, he falls for the new girl in school, Lily Raeburn (Leah Ostry).
The plotlines of this film are fairly daytime soap operatic. It has all the drama, with a few twists and turns thrown in to boot. However, this film is deadly serious. The film begins with simple stuff, such as divorce and separation, single-motherhood, etc. But, by about half way through the film disaster for the film's characters strikes, and it only spirals downhill from there. The turn of events of this film will make you sick to your stomach, guaranteed. You will never see it coming.
Kate Beckinsale delivers an outstanding performance, and is beautiful as always. Angarano is a young actor that is steadily climbing the ranks. Veterans of the screen, Sam Rockwell and Amy Sedaris stand out as well. Newcomer, Leah Ostry, has a bright future ahead of her, making waves in this film.
The video is presented in both 2.40:1 and 1.33:1 ratios. The video quality suffers, mainly from the low budget. Grain is present throughout the film, which yields some texture, but is mainly a major distraction. Compression artifacts are more than noticeable. The colors are bland, which is more to due to the nature of the filmmakers' style and expression of the characters' lives, than with the DVD transfer. Black levels suffer, yielding an even flatter image.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. There is little for the disc to reproduce, as the film is primarily dialogue. Unfortunately, the dialogue is fairly thin, but consistent. No use is made of the surround channels or the subwoofer, which is to be expected. Overall, the soundtrack is mono sounding and brittle, but not horrible.
There are no special features on the disc, which is not surprising
In the end, the film does little to attract audiences. The storylines, characters, and picture are depressing. However, if you know going in that the film deals in depth with serious human emotions, then you will appreciate the film for what it is.