Rabbit Hole – Review
November 13, 2010 3 Comments
RABBIT HOLE (6.5/10)
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Sandra Oh, Dianne Wiest
Let me just start by saying that this is not a bad film. It is very well handled, both in terms of direction and the general tone (A surprising change from Shortbus director John Cameron Mitchell). The acting is absolutely impeccable, the photography simple and understated, yet perfectly controlled an absolutely right for a film like this. Even the music, by TV composer Anton Sanko,in its gentle form is carefully used and never falls into the cheap emotion stirring mode.
So why did I just give it a 6.5 then, when everything about it seems ever so perfect?
I supposed my argument against it comes down to not the subject matter itself but the way the story is handled. I am probably alone on this one, since the play from which the film has been adapted has won the Tony Award in 2007. Obviously somebody must have seen a lot more in it than I did. Somebody must have liked it a lot!
It is essentially a film about grieving: a couple has lost their 4 years old boy in an accident and 8 months later they are struggling to cope with it. This is essentially the film. This is how much I knew about it before going into the theatre and this is exactly how much I still know about it after the screening.
Despite the fact that the film is an incredible emotional experience (I pretty much cried non-stop from half way though right till the end), to me the film just went nowhere. I knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened… and probably because nothing really happened. It’s all played by numbers and there was really nothing surprising about it.
Of course it’ll make you cry. If I tell you a story for 2 hours about my 4 years old boy who died run over by a car, I’m sure I can make you cry too. You certainly can’t judge a film on whether it’ll make you cry or not. Of course, this film will stay with me for a while, but once again, this isn’t certainly a mark of a good film either (I remember a lot of very bad films too).
I can probably understand that this is exactly the point of the movie: when something like this happens, it’s as if you fall in a state of trance and nothing really seems to happen anymore. Life stops and it doesn’t matter how much you try to shake off the emptiness, life will never be the same again. I get it. And yet I hated it. Maybe I just resented it for being put in a condition where I had to watch people having to live this tragedy for 2 hours.
This is one of the most depressing film I’ve seen in quite a while. In a way it reminded me a lot of “Revolutionary Road“. But where that film had some sort of character development and skillfully managed to balance moments of comedy (however dark) to moments of high drama (thus elevating them and giving them more impact), “Rabbit Hole” is constantly depressing. It only seems to have one gear, travelling at constant speed to a place which is pretty obvious right from the start. It’s a film with the same level of voice all the way through and after 2 hours of being told something pretty obvious, it does get all a bit tiring.
Aaron Eckhart is really good, of course he is. This the typical Oscar worthy part, but I have to say, it’s so much easier to play a character like this. I am not an actor and yet if somebody put me on a stage and told me “your 4 years old boy has died” I would be able to cry and shout and look the same way Aaron Eckhart did. The same goes for Nicole Kidman. I am not trying to take anything away from them, I am not saying they were not absolutely perfect in this film, I am just saying that the part of a grieving parent has got Oscar bait written all over it. Also, I must confess I was a little distracted by Nicole’s lips too. All the way though the film I kept on asking myself ” What the hell has she done to those lips…”. Please Nicole, leave them alone! Have the courage to grow old, like any other human being. You are so good, even without Botox and surgery!!
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