Now Available on Blu-ray
Director Susanne Bier
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Returning to the harrowing personal drama he perfected in 21 Grams, Academy Award winning Traffic star Benicio Del Toro takes on another intimate and demanding role in Danish director Susanne Bier’s first English language film, Things We Lost in the Fire.
American Beauty, Jarhead, Road to Perdition, and Revolutionary Road Oscar winning filmmaker Sam Mendes, who acquired the screenplay via his production company. And as Mendes notes in his immediate visceral response to Allan Loeb’s script which he referred to as “very moving, touching, [and] original,” he added with admiration that, “it’s very rare to find movies that, on the one hand, our personal stories about human beings and are acting, but on the scale necessary to be a motion picture as opposed to a piece for television.”
City of God, The Constant Gardener) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams, Babel, Amores Perros). Longing to tap into Susanne’s tendency towards a unique filmmaking aesthetic that was fearless in its decision to be “a little rougher, grittier… not as conventional as some equivalent moviemaking in this country [the United States] at my native England.”
After the Wedding was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film award, works from a script from debut screenwriter Allan Loeb that plays off her interest in personal tragedy and family dynamics most evident in not only Wedding but also Brothers and Open Hearts. Although initially, Bier was apprehensive to make her first Hollywood work, noting that she “was expecting that I would experience certain restraints, like being asked to make the movie more mainstream, but in fact it was quite the opposite.”
All That Heaven Allows, The Magnificent Obsession, Written on the Wind, and Imitation of Life director Douglas Sirk in the 1950’s (which was brought back to the big screen in the early 2000s in Todd Haynes’s Far From Heaven).
Monster's Ball Oscar winner Halle Berry—who fought hard for a role that was originally written for a white character, just knowing in her soul that she needed to do it as she shares in the Blu-ray makes the most of her difficult turn as Audrey Burke. An upper class Washington state housewife whose picture perfect marriage to David Duchovny is cut short when he intervenes in a domestic quarrel and ends up shot in a tragic murder/suicide.
Entertainment Weekly attacked the lack of authenticity head on with her thoughts that it’s “still a TV-scaled tear-duct drama about a beautiful woman who pushes past sadness in her House and Garden home.”
Open Hearts and Brothers.
In fact, they’re so good together in an admittedly unique pairing that once again can be attributed to Bier’s pitch perfect instincts which had intrigued her during pre-production as she noted in both the production notes and Blu-ray’s twenty-minute making-of “Discussion” by correctly stating that, “they’re really interesting to watch and very original. I just thought it would be very exciting to put the two of them to gather. I could imagine a sexy, potentially aggressive chemistry between them, but also a sense of comfort... a kind of emotional recognition between the two of them, which I thought would be great.”
American Beauty and Road to Perdition as Mendes explains)—unfortunately the sound balance leaves much to be desired as you have to keep your thumb on the volume of the remote an awful long time to barely make out the whisper-level intimate dialogue.