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dir Ry Russo-Young
scr Ry Russo-Young, Lena Dunham
prd Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, Alicia Van Couvering
with John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, Rhys Wakefield, Justin Kirk, India Ennenga, Mason Welch, Dylan McDermott, Emanuele Secci, Sam Lerner, Blaise Embry, Joshua Polit
release UK Apr.12 slf, US 12.Oct.12
L.A. life: DeWitt and Krasinski
SUNDANCE FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Realistically fragmented and awkward, this comedy-drama explores a series of inappropriate crushes that take surprising turns through shifting liaisons and unexpected emotions. Of course this gives the ensemble a lot to work with.
Working on a film for an exhibition, New York photographer Martine (Thirlby) travels to Los Angeles to get help from sound recordist Peter (Krazinski), who is married to her family friend Julie (DeWitt). While Peter eyes up Martine, she immediately clocks sexy coworker David (Wakefield), who's lusted after by Julie's teen daughter Kolt (Ennenga). Meanwhile, Kolt's Italian tutor (Secci) has a crush on her, while Julie is being pursued by a therapy client (Kirk). How each person deals with this situation has a huge impact in their life and work.
The script is a bit constructed to throw each character into s romantic dilemma with moral complications. But Russo-Young directs the film with a jagged honesty, giving the actors space to create resonant characters who bounce off each other in ways that are funny, scary and sad. The the story progresses with realistic human rhythms and sharply pointed moments of interaction while also playing with the world of sound recording.
At the centre Krasinski is superb as the everyman tempted to the breaking point. Yes, everyone in this story is tempted, but very few are able to control themselves. The title refers to the fact that in L.A. everyone drives everywhere, which draws attention to the New Yorker in their midst. Indeed, Martine's presence in the house throws off the already fragile balance between the other characters, opening the door for a full-on farce. Russo-Young refuses to moralise, offering telling insight through finely observed details: glances, touches, stolen kisses.
It's clear that we're supposed to know that certain things are wrong, but the way the characters behave makes it increasingly involving, blurring the links between each person until we realise exactly which relationships are robust enough to survive when all the jealousy and manipulation boils over. It sometimes gets a bit too silly, and the structure feels episodic, but clever writing, directing and acting mean that there's always something going on beneath the surface.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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