"Solondz looks at something more disturbing than Junior High"
Happiness is what people are trying to find in this film, but is it there to find for them?That's one of the questions that director Todd Solondz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE) poses in his new film that is already covered in controversy.
For those of you who don't know the story - October Films, owned by Universal Pictures, produced this film for a reported 3-4 million. When Solondz delivered the film, Universal wanted nothing to do with it and dropped it. It is now being distributed by Good Machine Productions in NYC and LA starting Oct. 16 and depending on it's grosses maybe to other large cities.
I'll admit it's easy to see why Universal dropped this film. The subject matter this film tackles isn't easy and it sure isn't pretty. Highlighting this point is the married character and father of 3 who loves his family and is a great father, but is....well...if you haven't heard yet I'll leave it a surprise.
I'll just say this isn't mainstream fare and is bring distributed unrated due to the NC-17 it was given by our friends at the MPAA.
This film is a character piece, much like Neil LaBute's recent YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS (also once slapped with an NC-17, but taken down on appeal). Some of the subject matter is even alike, but they are obviously two different films. NEIGHBORS seems much more hard-edged, which isn't to say this film is very audience friendly though. This film has a very distinct, and black sense of humor.
The acting is very well done from little known actors in their parts. Some just shine in their roles, giving you a clear portrait of their character. No one here was bad at all. Dylan Baker playing probably the film's most controversial character is deserving of an Oscar nomination.
The cinematography was simple and somewhat boring, but I don't expect Argento-esque camera movement in this film. It's a film driven on script and acting.
It runs over 130 minutes and is edited in a very different fashion than most pictures. It gives all it's characters a lot of screen time, but it comes in spurts. Solondz will leave you hanging in one story before jumping to the next and leaving in there for a long chunk of time. When watching this film I was given sort of an "uneven" impression, due to this. The thing is, some stories in the film are much more interesting than others. You are less involved in some character's lives because you just want to see what happened to the more interesting ones. Certain scenes in themselves are masterpieces, but as a whole the film is diluted by lesser scenes keeping it from a 5 star rating.Still, this is a very good film that is not easy to forget or leave the theater with a clear head.