Posted by: kfugrip | May 18, 2007

Oh Canada(ian) Filmmakers

The Sweet Hereafter, by Atom Egoyan is the sixty-third film in my quest.  It’s the story of a lawyer who descends upon a small town after a bus accident kills all the children in town except for one passenger.  The litigation begins to rip the town apart and the survivor makes a drastic step to unite them and regain some of her dignity.  Sarah Polley plays the survivor and Ian Holm is the lawyer, so we’re talking about some heavyweight actors in the picture.

Anyone familiar with Egoyan will recognize the tone and pace of the picture to be in his style.  I’m not familiar with the book but I have read one Russell Banks novel, Rule of the Bone, and I have an idea of Banks’ style and how it fits with Egoyan’s vision.  It’s a bit of a mish-mash.  I enjoy Egoyan’s vision of life and how he uses the camera.  It integrates well with the performances, which I would describe as understated with a few exceptions.

There are some holes in this film. To get technical for a second, I feel the first act is too long.  We spend a long time getting to know a handful of people and seeing scenes that don’t pay off like we are used to as movie viewers.  Once you see the film you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Some of these elements are unsatisfying and the ending of the film doesn’t curb that feeling.  My biggest problem was the incorporation of “The Pied Piper” into the picture and the way it becomes voice over.  It’s totally tacked on and distracting.

I was engaged and involved with the story but I wanted it to be a bit more streamlined and to know more about the after effects of the accident.  More than a monologue from a couple of characters and one character moping about.

3 stars.



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