Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Statistic

Author(s): Patrick D
Location: NY

"A Statistic"

Directed by Andrew Dominik
Written by Christopher Hampton

Main Cast

Stellan Skarsgard as Nathan Mattson
Meeghan Henry as Acha Lastari
Paul Bettany as Issac Hawkins
Emma Thompson as Shirley Mattson
Peter Stormare as Dominic Hayes
Marion Coltiarrd as Audrey Gallimard
Timothy Dalton as Marcus Cadler

Tagline: "It's not sympathetic. It's mercy. Based on a true story"

Synopsis: When a landslide in Indonesia leaves many dead and injured, the peace corp is called in to help. Among those arriving are Nathan Mattson (Skarsgard), Shirley Mattson (Thompson) and his best friend, Issac Hawkins (Bettany). What they consider to be a “by-the-numbers tragedy” quickly turns into much more when Shirley threatens to divorce Nathan, Issac falls in love with a french nurse (Coltiarrd), and Nathan is forced to psychologically prepare a eleven year old girl who is covered from the neck down in rocks.

Acha Lastari (Henry) is barely eleven years old, her father and six year old brother both died in the landslide, and her mother cannot be found. Nathan, still saddened by the potential divorce to his wife of twenty-years, is forced by Marcus Cadler (Dalton), his boss, to talk to Acha, and try to make her as calm as possible.

What begins is a strong bond between the two, engaging in intelligent and devastating conversations. Nathan begins to worry less and less about his wife, and focuses all of his love and attention to this potential orphan. In the beginning, he knows she is doomed, but he slowly goes into denial. Thinking of the child as his own daughter, he does everything he can to dig her out of the rocks.

But it is no use. The girl is doomed, and everyone knows this but Nathan. He must continue to speak to her, giving her hope, yet he knows what she doesn’t. That she’s going to die, and he must figure out how to put Acha out of her misery.

Featuring engrossing performances, beautiful camerawork and cinematography, a poignant screenplay, and compelling side-plots, A Statistic is sure to go down as one of the most daring films of it’s century, and certainly one of the most heartbreaking.

What the Press would say:

You know a movie is effective when your friend who hasn’t wept a tear in his life is effectively bawling next to you. Never have I seen a film so in-your-face and determined as this film. Not as though it’s a bad thing, it’s absolutely perfect. It never pulls any punches, it never treats you like an idiot, it’s perfect. Stellan Skarsgard gives one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen, the sadness in his eyes is absolutely haunting and 100% believable. In the ending scene, even though his character has planed this “sympathy killing” he still can’t keep himself under control, going from restrained to crying to violent, doing his best to stop the events that he himself planned. Meeghan Henry, the young and inexperienced Indonesian girl pulls off a performance that never feels hokey or fake, but real. It’s about as convincing as a documentary. Somehow, throughout all of the depressing material, she keeps her character’s innocence intact. Bettany and Coltiarrd have incredible chemistry, and provide the film’s happier moments. Incredible juxtaposition. Timothy Dalton is, to be honest, a “ass****” but he has good intentions, and in a performance that could’ve been painfully one-note he gives the man a heart, which in this critic’s opinion, took incredible skill, stealing every scene that he is in. There just isn’t a weak link in this chain. Andrew Dominik outdoes himself, being both gritty and beautiful, providing images that themselves could make you weep, and moving the story along perfectly. Christopher Hampton’s script is filled with poignant, and unpretentious dialogue, filled with messages and meaning. Providing moments both happy and haunting, he deserves the highest of honors with this epic drama. Walking out of this film, there were two things on my mind. One, how would I deal with the depression to come, and two, when the next showtime was.

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: Andrew Dominik
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Hampton
Best Actor: Stellan Skarsgard
Best Actress: Meeghan Henry
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Bettany
Best Supporting Actor: Timothy Dalton
Best Supporting Actress: Marion Coltiarrd

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