Sunday, December 23, 2007
QUICK COMMENTS: THE SAVAGES
I saw Tamara Jenkins' THE SAVAGES (****) last night. Awesome film. Loved it. Dark and sad and very funny. As usual, Philip Seymour Hoffman was great. But it was Laura Linney who stole the show. Movie after movie, performance after performance, Linney has proven to be an exceptional actress. I submit to you the following films: DAVE, SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER, PRIMAL FEAR, THE TRUMAN SHOW, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, MYSTIC RIVER, LOVE ACTUALLY, P.S., KINSEY, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, and BREACH. She's appeared in even more than that. And each time, she's been fully committed, extremely emotional, and always engrossing to watch. She's been one of my absolute favorite actresses for a while now, and in THE SAVAGES, I'm tempted to say she's given her best performance yet. The film, which has Hoffman and Linney playing brother and sister, is a dark comedy about how they have to take care of their ailing father after the death of his girlfriend. Their father, a tough old S.O.B. played to perfection by Philip Bosco, is suffering from delusions and early Parkinsons disease. It's a brilliant performance actually; never resorting to actorly ticks and convulsions, Bosco downplays the physical, in favor of the emotional, and the results are devastating. Yet never fully depressing. It's in the fine details, and this film is a subtly tricky one; you'll have to see the film to know what I mean. And I reccommend that you do. This is small film, a true low budget effort. No guns, car chases or explosions. It's not glossy; Jenkins favors chilly winter and gloomy skies over a Michael Bay sunset. It's generously written, honestly acted, and confident yet modest in its direction. And it's also extremely funny. My full review will appear soon, but add it to the pile of great work from a diverse group of filmmakers this year.