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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Everything Will Be Illuminated

CoverYou know those nights when you're at the video store, and it seems like you've a) seen everything b) only things you haven't seen are movies you couldn't be paid enough to watch? Tonight was one of those nights.

Fortunately, I remembered hearing that Liev Schreiber's directorial debut film, 'Everything Is Illuminated' was a worthwhile watch. I had been hesitant to watch it because, frankly, the cover image creeped me out, making me think of Elijah Wood's gruesomely freaky character in 'Sin City' — a strange and unfortunate cover choice for this movie.

The film was actually superb, and the cover was indeed ill-chosen, for it reflected none of the lovely naturalism of the film itself. Elijah Wood plays a young man, who collects things that remind him of his family. After his grandfather passes, he travels to Ukraine to attempt to find the Shtetl his grandfather left only a week before the Nazi occupation. I don't want to say anything more about the plot, not to ruin the discovery for anyone who hasn't seen it.

In short, the movie is artfully and deftly crafted — the director's touch seems so light, one feels like events are really unfolding. The actors, who are all excellent, never seem to be 'acting', and the script is not the usual heavy-handed let's-spoon-feed-and-finger-point-to-our-audience crap. Schreiber lets the unspoken speak louder than words, and captures the fragile and vivid emotions of his characters. I've always said that the mark of a good writer is that he treats all his characters with tenderness—the entire movie is created with just such love and beauty of spirit. There is even a wonderful dog, "Sammy Davis Jr., Jr.," who is a storyteller in her own right, played by Mickey and Mouse, top dog actors if you ask me.

So some night when you wonder which movie you should rent, or what to stick on your Netflix cue, take this one. It is all-round exquisite.

Tags: Movies

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3 Comments:

Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I, too had somehow managed to forget about this one ... It sounds great, so I'm gonna add it to my Netflix queue now!

August 15, 2006 6:39 PM  
Blogger Mark A. said...

I hate to be the "book was better" guy, but the book was so much better. They excised more than half the book to make the movie. Please, please, read the book. It's not that long, and it's such an emotional novel that I'm sure you'll love it.

August 16, 2006 1:51 AM  
Blogger Anniina said...

Thanks! I will. The movie made me want to run and get it straight away. Nearest B & N didn't have it, so I'll probs order it from Amazon.

August 16, 2006 12:39 PM  

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