Friday, August 12, 2011

OOPS! best movies of the last decade that i missed: PART THREE ('KREUTZER SONATA')

Before i even get in to the actual movie, i have to talk about Elisabeth Rohm for a second. JESUS CHRIST @ how good she looks in this movie! Maybe it was all those years of watching her look extra plain & simple on 'Law & Order', but i NEVER expected her to look so attractive in Bernard Rose's 'Kreutzer Sonata': A modern retelling of the famous Tolstoy story, and unofficial sequel to 'Ivans XTC' (another amazing film, also starring Danny Huston, from the last decade that i hadn't seen until the beginning of this year). Seriously, i had no idea Rohm had so many curves and such sex appeal. It isn't common for an actress to make the transition from the censored world of Television (NBC to be exact) to a borderline NC-17 film with numerous raw sex scenes (sometimes involving elements of S&M) and a graphic bloody ending. Luckily she not only looks amazing in the film but she gives an amazing performance as well, so i don't just have to praise her looks. After reading up on this movie and what it entailed, I seriously didn't think she would have it in her. As we all know almost every assistant district attorney on 'Law & Order' is just there to make Sam Waterson look good and play the typical female sidekick role. Rarely is there ever any depth to their characters, so I've never really seen her range as an actress. I'd never even seen her in any actual movies before either, so I didn't know what to expect. I was quite Impressed...

Through out the film Danny Huston imagines his wife (Rohm) cheating on him in these crazily edited, point of view sequences that make her look great

I could go on and on about how great Elisabeth Rohm is in 'Kreutzer Sonata', but Danny Huston is in fact the star. Its interesting to watch him slowly turn in to his father (John Huston, for those of you who don't know), as he gets older. His mannerisms, facial expressions and even the way he's been speaking in films these days all scream John Huston. If you close your eyes and listen to Danny Huston talk in any of the recent films he's acted in, you'd swear you were listening to "Noah Cross" from 'Chinatown'. In fact, Anjelica Huston makes an appearance in 'Kreutzer Sonata' as his sister. I know most people are use to Huston playing supporting roles or extra long cameos (children of men, the constant gardener, birth, marie antoinette, etc.), but if you think he cant carry a movie, you're crazy. He proved this in the highly underrated and barely seen 'Ivans XTC'. He can play a menacing villain (the proposition), a well meaning "good guy" (silver city) or a complex character that you like then come to hate in 'Kreutzer Sonata'. In the film, he plays a philanthropist who falls in love with a concert pianist (Rohm), and slowly grows jealous that she might be cheating on him with one of her violinist friends (even though she really isn't). He makes up these scenarios in his head about her having sex with another man and he eventually starts to believe them. The film follows their relationship from when they first meet, through marriage, children and eventually their bloody "divorce". 'Kreutzer Sonata' isn't just simply a modern re-telling of a classic story. Its also a disguised comment on the American family and shows the deterioration of a marriage (similar to films like 'Faces', 'Blue Valentine' and 'Flannel Pajamas'). When our couple starts out together, Rohm makes it clear that because of her career as a pianist she doesn't want children. But by accident Huston doesn't pull out in time and she gets pregnant. They eventually have a 2nd child and by that point she gives up her piano playing which causes a major problem in their marriage. Rohm also starts to sense that Huston thinks she's cheating on him (which, once again, she's not) causing even more tension in their marriage. As the film progresses, leading up to the explosive ending, the editing becomes more chaotic and jumpy.
Houston's performance is great (as well as his haunting voice-over through out the film). And its difficult to pull that kind of a role off because a lot of it is internal. His character has to try to hide his emotions like jealousy, rage and anxiety when he's around people, but on the inside he's ready to snap (and he does by the end).
This film is pretty recent (2008) but i don't know too many people who've seen it. If you come across the multi-region DVD like i did, i strongly suggest you pick it up. Bernard Rose has yet to make the final film in this Tolstoy trilogy, but after watching Huston's performance in the first 2, i cant wait to see the final film.


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