Posts tagged "Sarsgaard"

American remake “The Lie” stays true to the original German film “We Monsters”

October 6th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on “American remake “The Lie” stays true to the original German film “We Monsters””

“The Lie” has its origins in the 2015 German film “We Monsters (“Wir Monster”) and this remake stays true to its origins as it depicts the lengths parents will go to protect their child. Starring Joey King, Miereille Enos and Peter Sarsgaard, it’s a chilling concept of love, loyalty, and truth.

Watch the trailer here

Kayla (King) is a typical teen being raised by divorced parents, shuffled between the two and struggling to come to terms with the situaiton. Rebecca (Enos), a successful high-powered corporate lawyer drops off her daughter with her ex, Jay (Sarsgaard), a hipster struggling musician. It’s the dead of winter in Upstate New York and the chill in the air is no coincidence as it foreshadows the events to come. As Dad and Kayla drive the country backroads on their way to a dance camp, they pick up Kayla’s best friend Britney (Devery Jacobs). The girls’ banter is conflicting as it devolves into a flirtatious encounter between Britney and Jay. Requesting a stop along the way to relieve herself, Britney and Kayla exit the car into the woods, but only Kayla returns. The bloodcurdling scream and the reactions that follow change not only Britney’s life forever, but everyone’s.

In a split second decision to not call 911, Jay takes the road less traveled as he learns that his daughter has intentionally killed Britney, pushing her over the bridge and plunging into the harsh and frigid rapids below. Hatching a plan on their way back to Mom’s, the cover up begins and as they say, “Lies beget lies.”

Rebecca learns of the truth and the conundrum in which she is placed goes against every moral grain in her body, but she must protect her daughter. Of course, all of this spirals out of control as the situation devolves, but always beneath the surface is Rebecca’s questioning of her own daughter’s odd reactions. Jay, however, justifies Kayla’s nonchalant and inappropriate expressions as she is able to go about her life as if nothing happened. No remorse or sorrow is found in this girl as she fixes breakfast, watches television, laughs, and interacts normally.

Rebecca’s internal struggle is immediately evident in her appearance as she questions whether or not she has raised a sociopath. And as Britney’s father and the police begins to ask questions, the chips begin to fall. Rebecca and Jay can’t keep track of all the lies which leads to more grandiose actions taken to cover up the initial crime.

“The Lie” asks the question of how far would you go to protect your child if he/she was guilty of a crime? Could you do the unthinkable? How would you react? These are difficult questions and both characters of Rebecca and Jay handle it differently. Additionally, beneath the obvious surface is the impact of divorce upon a teenager as Kayla’s motivation is revealed.

The questions this film brings to light are compelling ones that both Enos and Sarsgaard eloquently approach. “The Lie” becomes their story as they reconnect and remind one another of why they got divorced. Enos shines in her role as we physically watch her appearance unravel and her body language subtly reveals that she is in constant heightened anxiety. Sarsgaard’s polar opposite character balances the anxiousness as he attempts to lead the family back to a smooth road of normalcy. King, unfortunately, never seems to find the right direction in allowing us to more accurately read her situation. With an unexpected ending, we can see why she is all over the board, but her every reaction is more of an overreaction.

The connection between Enos and Sarsgaard carries the film to give it a sense of reality. Their characters were once in love, but their differences made marriage impossible and we see these aspects arise as they attempt to come together for the good of their child. And as the original title of the film suggests, there are monsters in this film, but who is the true monster?

3 Stars

Streaming on Amazon Prime beginning Tuesday, October 6.

“Human Capital” A morally complex and intriguing story

February 7th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Human Capital” A morally complex and intriguing story”

Stephen Amidon’s novel has been recreated once again for the silver screen, but for American audiences this time. Initially an Italian film, it depicts the destinies of two families from vastly different socioeconomic classes whose lives are irrevocably changed after a cyclist is hit and killed just before Christmas. The American version, rewritten by Oren Moverman, stars Liev Schreiber, Peter Sarsgaard, and Marisa Tomei, and creates a similar scenario where two families’ children and their underlying stories are intertwined on that fateful night of an innocent cyclist being killed in a hit and run accident.

The story is told from several different perspectives, Rashomon-style. We are introduced to Drew (Schreiber), a real estate agent and father as he drops off his teenage daughter, Shannon (Maya Hawke). It’s obvious from the beginning who the have’s and the have not’s are in this scenario and Drew’s unrefined interactions with Jamie’s (Fred Hechinger) parents, Carrie (Tomei) and Quint (Sarsgaard). This sets the foundation for the ensuing tensions and poor decision making that put all the pieces into place and drive the story forward.

As part of the 99%, Drew thinks he has hat the jackpot and asks Quint to get in on his action–hedge funds. Leveraging every cent and item he has, the game has begun, but this is a big boy’s game and Drew isn’t ready. Needless to say, life devolves, spiraling out of control for him. Later that evening, after both families have gathered at a school event, the accident takes place. Each and every character may have done it, and they all have their own version of what happened that night.

From this point, we get Carrie’s, Quint’s, Shannon’s and Jamie’s perspective of what happened over the course of the previous 24 hours. Sharing all their inner-most thoughts and secrets, like a fly on the wall, we see the events of the fateful night unfold. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together is chilling, unearthing the depths to which humans will go to save themselves and/or their loved ones.

It’s an interesting cast, all playing pivotal roles and having their time to shine in the spotlight. Sarsgaard portrays a pompous, deleterious narcissist, who cherishes money more than his wife. Tomei, a side character for much of the film, has a few scenes that give us more depth to peel away the superficial layers of her character. She proves that money cannot buy happiness and her performance connects us with her, creating sympathy for her situation. Hawke and Alex Wolff, a troubled teen, bring us all back in time where we made those bad decisions in love. Their honest portrayal is simply engaging with a storyline that could be in any town, highlighting the social issues that plague our current day. Schrieber’s former character of “Ray Donovan” is difficult to shake as his character of Drew is the antithesis of Ray. Initially awkward, Schrieber eventually finds the right tone and I’m able to see him as a man-child who is impulsive and not the brightest bulb in the box. This is a stretch for him and always walking a tightrope of authenticity.

This version of “Human Capital” takes us along a little different path, but the results are the same–it’s fight or flight as our autonomic nervous system kicks in. This engaging film, filled with social issues and consequences, is at once thought-provoking as we are challenged intellectually and emotionally. Ultimately, we place ourselves in each of the roles, predicting our own responses and when a film can do that, it’s worth seeing.

3/4 Stars

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