Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Bello and Sheen in Shawn Ku's BEAUTIFUL BOY: difficult, riveting and awe-inspiring
Elephant and the under-seen but very good Dark Matter come immediately to mind) but until now I don't believe there has been a movie about this subject shown exclusively from the perspective of the parents of the murderer. The very idea of this broadens and enriches our understanding, but who would have guessed that a relatively fledgling filmmaker like Shawn Ku, director and co-writer (along with Michael Armbruster), would come up with something that's, yes, difficult to watch, but increasingly riveting and finally an awe-inspiring accomplishment? We'll soon be getting another film on this topic (Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin), but for now BEAUTIFUL BOY is the first out of the gate.
Kyle Gallner, below, who makes his every short appearance count), full comprehension of the event, and how and why it came to be, while desperately needed, remains elusive -- for us and for them.
TrustMovies is usually not a big fan of the hand-held camera, and the more he gets of it in a single sitting, the more jumpy and fretful (just like that camera) he can become. Having said that, Mr. Ku's use of this technique is extraordinary. (His cinematographer, Michael Fimognari, is also responsible for the recent grabber Brotherhood and the smart-but-underseen teen movie Dare.)
Maria Bello (above) and Michael Sheen (below). We enter their minds, and get under their skin. And due to the spot-on work of these actors, the dialog seems so real as to be have been improvised (though I doubt very much that it was.)
Alan Tudyk (below, right) and Moon Bloodgood (center, right) -- who open their home indefinitely to the pair. Meatloaf Aday (shown, right, in the photo at bottom) also does a beautiful job as the clerk at the motel where Sheen finally retreats.
Anchor Bay Films, 100 minutes) opens in select cities this Friday, June 3. In New York, catch it at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the Angelika Film Center. Click here for playdates and showtimes elsewhere.