I've got a "bed" feeling about this
The air of impending doom is palpable in the superbly acted and uncompromising "In the Bedroom."
By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
The portent in "In the Bedroom" is heavy, scary stuff. It hangs over Todd
Field's film like a specter, like a dark cloud gathering momentum,
intensifying, ready to unleash its terrible violence on the pastoral,
lobster-trapping community of Camden, Maine, at any moment.
there in the film's opening scene, as a young couple frolic in the grass.
Frank (Nick Stahl) is a college boy, home for the summer; Natalie (Marisa
Tomei) is a not-quite-divorced mother of two young boys. Frank tells his
mother (played by Sissy Spacek, who just took the Golden Globe for her work
here) that it's "a summer thing" but Ruth Fowler fears it's something more.
|IN THE BEDROOM|
|Directed by: Todd Field.|
Written by: Robert Festinger, Todd Field, Andre Dubus.
Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, William Mapother, William Wise, Celia Weston, Karen Allen, Frank T. Wells, W. Clapham Murray, Justin Ashforth, Terry A. Burgess, Jonathan Walsh, Diane E. Hamlin, Camden Munson..
Related links: All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
There's the age difference, for one thing, and those boys how are they
going to feel when Frank flies off to graduate school at summer's end?
Ruth's husband ("The Full Monty"'s Tom Wilkinson) agrees. But he's a
passive sort, and he never has that conversation with his son.
in question grows to unfathomable proportions every time Natalie's volatile
almost-ex husband shows up; you know it's only a matter of time before
something terrible, something violent happens. When it does happen the
thunderclouds open as threatened but the portent remains to the very end:
how are those left with the grief and the guilt going to deal with this?
|You know it's only a matter of time before something terrible, something violent happens. When it does, the
thunderclouds open as threatened but the portent remains to the end: how are those left with the grief and the guilt going to deal with this?|| |
Actor-turned-director Field brings out the very best in his performers.
You expect emotionally powerful acting from the classy Spacek, but you
don't necessarily expect it from Wilkinson and Tomei. (Look for all three to
figure at this year's Oscar ceremony; Tomei might finally lay to rest the
criticism that her statuette for "My Cousin Vinny" was a fluke.) "Bully"'s
Stahl and William Mapother (as the jealous, destructive Richard Strout) are
also impressive here.
The film unfolds slowly, perhaps a little too slowly
in places, and the denouement feels a little abrupt after all that buildup,
but "In the Bedroom" is nevertheless a powerful, disturbing film that
showcases the talents of some exceptional performers, as well as those of
an up-and-coming writer/director in Todd Field.
|JANUARY 24, 2002|
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