Sunday, October 21, 2007


Susanne Bier's masterpiece THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is unquestionably one of the best films of the year. I had a feeling it would be. I had read Allan Loeb's brilliant screenplay a few years ago, and immediately after putting it down, had a feeling run through me that I had read something touching, moving, and heartbreaking. I had a fear though. Because I loved the script so much, I was afraid that the finished film wouldn't live up to experience of reading the story on paper. Because I have not seen any of Bier's previous work (shame on me), I wasn't prepared for her penetrating style. And on top of everything, Benicio Del Toro's performance in THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is the single best piece of acting, male or female, of the year. An actor of extreme talent, Del Toro seems incapable of every giving anything less than a tour de force performance. His smart-ass work in THE USUAL SUSPECTS showed the world a new, distinct actor was in town. And with his performances in Terry Gilliam's FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, Steven Soderbergh's TRAFFIC, and Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's 21 GRAMS, he clearly established himself as one of the best and most versatile actors of his generation. He is a towering presence in the film; hypnotic and raw, capturing the horrors of a heroin addict so vividly--and without any self-conscious moments--that it's impossible not to love him. And that's nothing to say of Halle Berry's moving and sad portrayal of a woman coming to terms with serious loss, the death of her amazing and loving husband. Del Toro and Berry's characters form a symbiotic bond, a unqiue and often painful friendship that is brought on by tragedy. Never contrived or disingenuous, THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE is commercial storytelling as art. This is a beautifully observed, quietly devastating movie. Never cloying or cheap, it's a film that's about realistic, serious issues, and remains honest at every turn. My full, four star review will be posted soon.

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