Daily Archives: February 9, 2007

The Dead Girl

Unrelievedly grim, this searing second feature by TV actress Karen Moncrieff (Blue Car) guides an unusually able cast through a five-part feature that’s closer to a collection of interconnected short stories than to a novel. The episodes all revolve around the brutal murder of a young woman, and Moncrieff’s psychological and sociological perspective on the characters–and on the sickness and unhappiness that seem to bind them together–is almost always acute and never merely sensational. With Toni Collette, Rose Byrne, Mary Beth Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Brittany Murphy, Kerry Washington, Giovanni Ribisi, Piper Laurie, Mary Steenburgen, and Josh Brolin. R, 93 min. (JR)… Read more »

Breaking And Entering

Juliette Binoche won an Oscar for her role in Anthony Minghella’s adaptation of The English Patient (1996), but in many ways I prefer her soulful performance here: portraying a Bosnian Muslim working as a tailor in London, she’s reason enough to see Minghella’s contrived though absorbing 2006 feature based on his original script. Jude Law (earnest but a bit overtaxed) plays a dissatisfied landscape architect living with a Swedish woman (Robin Wright Penn) and her troubled teenage daughter; his office in the King’s Cross area is twice burglarized by Binoche’s teenage son, and the complicated interactions involving class and culture that ensue between all these characters remain fascinating even when they seem overly schematic. (It’s too bad Minghella’s usual editor, Walter Murch, wasn’t around this time; some of the overly obvious crosscutting suggests the meddling of producer Harvey Weinstein.) R, 120 min. (JR)… Read more »