From the news to lyrics of a song one eventually comes across the saying: The good die young. There is some truth in those words. Not that I want to get into a political debate here; but when one hears about a person guilty of a crime who died or will be dying, the sympathy is slightly different for them than an innocent individual. Hearing recently about innocent children being killed by stray bullets or just yesterday about the mother who was allegedly murdered and stuffed into a suitcase by her daughter, one’s heart has to go out for these people whose lives were taken away from them. Under those types of circumstances you feel it in the pit of your stomach. I will be the first to admit that I tend not to be sympathetic towards a person who makes the conscience choice to take the life away from another individual. I vividly recall the trial where a friend of mine was picked to be part of the jury, where a mother hung her 2 year old son out the dining room window until he died. She was found guilty for reasons of insanity. HOWEVER, in this dramatic movie the killer appeared to be totally rational. During confession a man sat and explained why he was going to kill the priest listening to him, Father James who was played by Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter franchise, Troy). After explaining his reasons, the announced killer told the priest he had 7 days to get his affairs in order. In this film festival winning picture Brendan was utterly outstanding in his role. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Ned Kelly), I found the script to be intelligent and mature. The pacing was well suited for this story, building a slow steady tension to the very end. I felt the camera work beautifully displayed the gorgeous landscapes, besides creating memorable images throughout the film. Everyone in the cast from Kelly Reilly (Flight, Heaven is for Real) as Fiona Lavelle to Chris O’Dowd (Cuban Fury, Bridesmaids) as Jack Brennan did their part to push this movie to excellence. The reason why this story worked for many reasons was due to the fact that the audience was immediately told the circumstances. With this knowledge I could not imagine someone not feeling sadness and dread on a deep level; it really was a brilliant idea from John Michael McDonagh. This film made a strong connection to the audience and the only thing it was guilty of was tugging at our hearts. A couple of scenes had blood in them.
3 1/2 stars
The word separation is an interesting word because it has two polar opposite emotions associated with it. A person would be relieved and happy to be separated from someone who was toxic to them. I can understand the feeling that would come over someone after being in an abusive relationship; in this case separating oneself would be a healthy thing. After being harnessed to a yoke, dragging fear and despair with them everywhere, the feelings of leaving has to be monumental. When there are people you love such as family, friends, or soul mates; a separation from them can feel as if your breath never quite fills your lungs, taxing your heart’s beat. Being apart from them can be sad and painful, where you worry each memory filled tear running down your face will feel like loved ones slipping away from you. It seems to me the act of separation can have a powerful affect on an individual. In this film festival winning movie being separated from his 2 children was more than 40 year old Xavier Rousseau, played by Romain Duris (Heartbreaker, The Beat That My Heart Skipped), could bear. When Wendy, played by Kelly Reilly (Flight, Sherlock Holmes franchise), the mother of his 2 kids decided to leave France and move to New York City, Xavier decided to follow and settle down near them in the foreign land. He would soon discover it was not an easy thing to do. This dramatic comedy had a lot going for it. I did not know this film was the third in a series, the two previous being L’Auberge Espagnole and Russian Dolls. After viewing this romantic movie I wished I had seen the previous ones because I felt I was missing out on something. The cast had an easy flow going between each other and were all believable. Part of the cast also included Audrey Tautou (Coco Before Chanel, The Da Vinci Code) as Martine and Cecile De France (Hereafter, High Tension) as Isabelle. The story essentially had no major potholes in it, things were pretty much kept at an even keel and that would be my major complaint. I did not find much contrast between any of the scenes; there was a chuckle here, a touching moment there. As I said before maybe my reaction would have been different if I had more history with the characters, watching them in their previous films. Granted I had very little negative things to say about the movie; I just felt a little left out. There was English, French, Spanish and Chinese languages spoken with English subtitles when needed.
2 2/3 stars