8:00 PM, 4th September, 2009
I've never much cared for John Malkovich: he never seemed to me to have much authority on screen ((ndash)) certainly not as much as he tries for. But here's a role where this works in his favour. He plays David, a Cape Town professor specialising in Romantic poetry who has the bad luck to appear even more effete and arrogant than he in fact is. While he's something of a bully, we can't watch him for a minute without sensing that he's in a weak position in the big bad world of modern South Africa.
His story begins when he falls in love with a student, pursues her, forces himself on her ((ndash)) and, when caught, simply walks away from his job forever to start a completely new life. He heads out to live with his daughter (Haines) on her farm deep in the middle of nowhere. He takes an immediate dislike to his daughter's neighbour (Ebouaney) and seems to be the only one around with the sense to see that there must be something more sinister, or calculating, or something, beneath that man's surface cheerfulness.
What happens to David and his daughter on the farm appears entirely unrelated to the sordid tale of his sexual misconduct at the university; and in a sense, it is entirely unrelated ((ndash)) and that's what makes the film work so well. The two stories complement each other in a way hard to define ((ndash)) the film is beautiful without being too neat.
10:14 PM, 4th September, 2009
Winged Creatures explores the trauma created by a random shooting incident. A suicidal gunman kills or injures several people and then kills himself, affecting the lives of a group of people who experience deep psychological problems as a result of the shooting.
Those most deeply affected are Carla Davenport (Beckinsale), Charlie Archenault (Whitaker), Anne Hagen (Fanning), and Jimmy Jasperson (Hutcherson). All are traumatised in different ways, and make attempts by various means to shield themselves from the events they have experienced.
Strategies they adopt for coping, and for trying to regain some control over the world around them include losing the power of speech, denial, religious hysteria, attempted suicide, gambling, and manipulating other people's lives.
Others also affected by the event are Bruce Laraby (Pearce), a doctor who attempts to save two of the victims, Carla's infant son and Kathy (Jennifer Hudson), the daughter of survivor Charlie Archenault.
The film explores the trauma of survivor guilt, and the impact such shootings have not only on those present at the time, but on the family members of victims and survivors, and those who come into contact with them.
Given the occurrence of such shootings in the USA, and at Port Arthur in Tasmania, the film is very relevant. It provides insight into the aftermath of such events ((ndash)) the issues that the people involved continue to have long after the world has forgotten, and the media have moved on to the next big story.