Cast :- Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert
Director :- Joachim Trier
Genre :- Drama
So, I looked through a list of movies to watch and in popped up this movie. No, the name has no intended puns – it genuinely has that name. The movie in a matter of full disclosure is artistic in feel, gives you a lot of sad moments and makes you think about all these biopics of soldiers who suffer in wars, most of them don’t have an impact like this. They don’t show much of war here but of the impact it has on the people who document it, for wars really are the gravest of humanity’s sins.
So, the movie is based on the story of a war photographer – Isabelle (Isabelle Hupert) who has roamed war zones across the world clicking award winning photographs. She dies in a car accident under mysterious circumstances and leaves behind a family of two sons – Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) and Conrad (Devin Drud) in the care of their father – Gene (Gabriel Byrne). Jonah being elder and in college understood the circumstances of his mother’s death, though with difficulty but was able to get over the incident. Conrad was younger and was kept away from the truth by his father – Gene. Years later a colleague who was involved with the mother – Richard (David Straitharn) intends to write an article on her stating that her death was no “accident”.
That is almost the entire story save a few dramatic twists – affairs, tears etc.
The cast played a marvellous role in pulling off the movie – obviously it is the actors who can pull off a story, no CGI pumped stunts or breathtaking story in this one to sell the movie.
Out of the cast, the most renowned was obviously our very own Lex Luthor – Jesse Eisenberg. The others are famous in different aspects of cinema of course.
Gabriel Byrne plays the role of Gene – a father who was once an actor but gave it up so that his wife could follow her passion of photography and he could take care of the children is now trying to keep the family intact concerned about both his son’s well being as well as dating a fellow colleague – Hannah (Amy Ryan) who just so happens to be Conrad’s teacher (awkward!). Conrad is a rebel and in some way blames his mother’s lifestyle and the way his father treated her to be associated with her death. Jonah is married and with a kid who seems to have fallen out of love with his wife due to distances between them off late and that he can’t be his true self or tell her about his past to her which he can to his girlfriend from college – Melanie (Rachel Brosnahan).
I really loved the movie. The setting and the skill the actors portrayed the story with were nothing short of outstanding. The story and the pace with which the movie followed the emotions were the greatest attribution to the successful execution and that is to the credit of the director – Joachim Trier, a Norwegian filmmaker who has directed some great Norwegian films in the past.
I started the movie thinking there would be nothing new here and it wasn’t actually. The plot was more or less defined in the first few minutes, lady goes to warzones – sees death, destruction and kills herself – predictable! But the way it was portrayed was really something I didn’t expect as this isn’t my type of a movie. The intensity, the poetry and imagery were all properly designed to fit into the plot. I loved the poetry and relation of the life of the photographer.
One morning you’re over there doing something you feel is important, but it’s hard as well, you know? You can’t wait to go back home. Then finally you’re there. You always arrive exhausted, having changed plans like four times. – Isabelle
She says in the end, the ordeal of living and documenting a life of horrors to show the privileged what the rest of the world feels – We travel most of the time to places where people are getting killed, fathers burying sons, mothers getting raped in front of their children and usually we want to come back and talk to the ones we love, about it because that is the best therapy there is but our absence makes them feel like we aren’t needed.
Think a wife feels her husband doesn’t need her or her sons don’t want her – heart breaking isn’t it? Conrad didn’t have his mother from his teens – his crucial years and to a kid who grows without his parents it can be tough and Jonah who has associated her death as the biggest tragedy couldn’t speak about it, her husband to have lost his partner in depression without having given her consolation to save her affected him very bad. All this adding to the horrors she has faced in the warzones struck her real bad. There are parts of the film where certain things of our normal life such as a person reading out an essay which would otherwise be insignificant makes you feel like that incident is relatable, I am sure we have all gone through something like this. And it focusses in great depth the trauma the family faces – the father’s worry especially taking centre stage. I enjoyed the movie, felt bad a little but most of all appreciated a good movie.
All in all the movie was a masterpiece and I couldn’t explain a major part of it in words. It is truly a watchable experience atleast once.
My rating :- Acclaimed Masterpiece