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dir Allen Coulter
scr Will Fetters
prd Trevor Engelson, Nick Osborne
with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins, Lena Olin, Kate Burton, Gregory Jbara, Chris McKinney, Meghan Markle, Andrea Navedo
release US 12.Mar.10, UK 2.Apr.10
10/US Summit 1h53
Beautiful misery: De Ravin and Pattinson
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Even before the manipulative final act, this film will get on the nerves of most viewers with its over-serious tone and sentimentalised plot. And the main problem is that all of this leaves the cast with little to do besides mope.
Tyler (Pattinson) is a 21-year-old student who still hasn't recovered from the suicide of his big brother six years ago. He devotes himself to his little sister Caroline (Jerins) and rebels against their wealthy father (Brosnan). When he's brutally arrested by a cop (Cooper), his chucklehead flatmate (Ellington) suggests that he get even by dating the cop's daughter Ally (de Ravin), a fellow student. It turns out that Ally also has a personal tragedy in her life, and of course they fall in love as they try to sort out their issues.
The film is stylishly shot and edited, focusing on the internal emotions of the characters, all of whom are well-played. But this anguish wears us out as we wait for them to find a glimmer of hope. Although they all seem content to wallow in misery, so we just want to leave them to it. This isn't necessarily the cast's fault; the actors try to inject flashes of energy and humour; but director Coulter flattens everything with relentless corniness.
Frankly, Pattinson needs to snap out of downbeat roles as well as audience-safe PG-13 movies aimed at teen girls and no one else. Any edginess here is an illusion, and he's not even allowed to develop proper chemistry with de Ravin. Of the supporting cast, Cooper and Brosnan are in the wrong roles; Cooper would have been more interesting as the aggressive, family-ignoring executive, while Brosnan could have generated some empathy for the hothead, drunken cop. The real star is Jerins, and her story is badly simplified.
In the end, none of this will matter to the young women who swoon over Pattinson. But it's clear that the filmmakers were going for a Titanic mood with this tale of aching love and life after the death of a loved one. Sadly, the film only ends up feeling like it's been made in extreme slow motion. And also in very bad taste.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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