"Frozen" is a bright thriller from cold, gray northern England, where a troubled, working-class heroine isn't sure whether she's tracking down a killer or growing delusional.
By JOSHUA TANZER
When your sister has disappeared without a trace, everyone assumes she's dead, the police have long since lost interest, and you've decided, in your spare time, to take the investigation on yourself, it would help if you were the feisty, energetic, not-easily-discouraged type. And not, shall we say, alone, confused, chronically depressed, mousey-voiced and tired out from your work at the local cannery. But Kath has to play the hand she was dealt.
With two years gone by since her sister Annie disappeared, Kath has begun to have debilitating visions about water and ice and death so much so that a co-worker one day finds her unconscious in the cannery freezer. That's when she knows she has to pick herself up and try to learn what happened. Family and friends assure her that Annie can only be dead and she'd do better to look after her own state of mind rather than sink further into a fruitless obsession. A vicar to whom she turns for counseling hints that she might lay off the bottle as well, which only sets her off. "For your information, I've got a disappeared-sister problem, not a fucking drinking problem!" she snaps.
|Directed by: Juliet McKoen.|
Written by: Juliet McKoen, Jayne Steel.
Cast: Shirley Henderson, Roshan Seth, Ger Ryan, Ralf Little, Jamie Sives, Richard Armitage, Sean Harris, Shireen Shah, Rebecca R. Palmer, Lyndsey Marshal.
Cinematography: Philip Robertson, Hugh Fairs.
Edited by: Paul Endacott.
Related links: Official site
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As it turns out, Kath isn't just moping because she lacks closure the explanation she falls back on when her determination falters. She's actually onto something. She quickly collects a number of clues that confirm something's fishy about her disappeared-sister problem. To start with, police have a security tape that shows her last moments walking into a cobblestone alley but as Kath discovers, the corresponding tape on the opposite end of the alley doesn't show her leaving. Either something happened in the one "dead spot" between the two security cameras, or else the tape has been doctored. And after the passage of time, the only person who cares enough to find out is her.|
Parts of "Frozen" could be mistaken for a latter-day Hitchcock film, with our heroine repeatedly snatched into a loopy, "Spellbound"-style dreamworld and collecting ambiguous clues like Teresa Wright in "Shadow of a Doubt." But Juliet McKoen's debut has an even stronger connection with Lars von Trier's films, focusing on its tortured heroine with relentless intimacy. We're caught up not only in her search for the truth but also in her struggle to keep a grip on her unstable self. It's tempting to call this style something like "Hitchcock for the prozac generation," except it's not clear that prozac has made it to this part of the frigid north. Dejection is as much a part of life as the fish freezer, the merciless gray landscape, and the ocean's unknowable depths.
|APRIL 15, 2005|
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