Director/Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Music: Nico Muhly
Cinematography: Ryszard Lenczewski
John Gallagher Jr.
This lengthily delayed film (for more than 6 years, what’s why Anna Paquin still can play a high schooler) from director/writer Kenneth Lonergan (his second film after YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, 2000) was finished in 2005 and after an ultra-difficult post-production and financial lawsuit, it released last year in USA, and finally I got a chance to watch it in this year’s KVIFF.
The film laboriously but intricately centres on guilty retribution of a teenager girl, and even with its prolonged 150 minutes running time, the film valiantly elaborates on its subject-matter without any tedious doctrine, a rarely mundane but inspiring case study of contemporary moral standard and post-trauma analysis albeit a shade TV-dramatic.
The cast has achieved a stupendous assignment with strong brio. Thanks to a juicy and incisive script, Anna Paquin renders her career-best in her post-Oscar hardship in film roles (although the vivid reflection of Sookie Stackhouse keeps harrying me, a unforeseen hiccup to be a TRUE BLOOD fang-lovers), she has a solid spot in my top 5 of my LEADING ACTRESS list. Ms. Lonergan, an under-appreciated J. Smith-Cameron and a comeback Oscar nominee Jeannie Berlin (from THE HEARTBREAK KID, 1972) are among the marrows of the film’s superlative supporting players (inside the male clique, Mark Ruffalo is the most interesting figure, and I wish he could have more screen time) but ill-fatedly, their stunning performances have been oblivious alongside the film itself (just narrowly escaping from my top 10 BEST PICTURE line-up of 2011).
About the directing part, the slow-motion takes are effectively utilised as a stylish manoeuvre to offer some respite during the otherwise ceaselessly clashing situations, and as a whole, the film at least deserves more respect and applauds for its boldness in spouting out an ethical conundrum and tackling it with sincerity and fair-mindedness.
ps: Kenneth Lonergan was sitting beside me during the screening, when the ending credits were rolling, he actually had tears in his eyes, only if I could imagine what he had undergone to make this sealed gem finally comes ashore, just bravo!