Wednesday, 16 February 2011

REVIEW: Rabbit Hole

Gone baby Gone.

Nicole Kidman is one of the more fascinating actresses, in that at this point no-one could credibly make the argument that she's bad, there's too much evidence to the contrary, too many good performances clocked in, yet she somehow remains impenetrable, an unknowable entity with seemingly no personality at all. Yet partly thanks to that she's able to disappear into roles slightly more effectively then say Angelina Jolie or Reese Witherspoon can. The gift of being fucking boring has allowed her to be the highest profile female chameleon, an actress capable of doing anything but be funny. Because that requires personality see.

But Kidman is arguably at her career best in Rabbit Hole, a subtle, intimate look at a married couple dealing with the loss of a child. Now murdered children make me suspicious of movies, not for any moral reason or nuthin', but because it's too often used as a shortcut to pathos, that is to say movies use it for its dramatic power and no more. But Rabbit Hole shows a genuine interest, almost fascination with exploring the psychological impact of it, thoroughly and intelligently. Which I am fine with. Its when its just an excuse for Sean Penn to lose his shit that I find it cynical. Kidman is fantastic, displaying the despair subtly rather then over-bearingly and manages to to make you feel everything whilst giving you nothing. A deserved Oscar nomination for sure. Aaron Eckhart as her husband is her match, giving a more vulnerable and open performance then I've seen him give before, and seeing that an actor has more about him then I think is always a pleasant surprise. It goes without saying that Dianne Wiest is great, but more notably there's a great supporting performance by relative newcomer Miles Teller as the teen who caused the incident.

The film itself is wonderfully low-key, there are few showreel moments so when they come they feel earned, and above all its not reductive with the material, and Rabbit Hole is an insightful and moving meditation on grief. Its certainly the first John Cameron Mitchell film of this quality, and goes to show that if he can lay off the quirk he's a director with an eye for great performances. To be honest there's not enough of this kind of film in Hollywood, an honest, raw yet intelligent character study. You get one of those fuckers rarely indeed.

Rating: 8/10

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