Psychologically driven films that burrow deep into damaged characters can be riveting, informative and entertaining. However, the story must carefully and coherently probe the central characters emotional traumas and offer insight into them. This is what director Kim Farrant clearly intended for "Strangerland," though it fails to deliver these essential requirements.
Efficiently working through the mystery/murder genre's obligatory twists and turns, "Before I Go to Sleep" proves the importance of solid acting to engage the audience. And engage they do when the actors are Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. Equally up to the challenge of adapting S.J. Watson's novel is screenwriter/director Rowan Joffe.
In "The Railway Man" Eric Lomax first appears in 1980 where he's most comfortable--on a railway car. There he accidentally meets his future wife, Patti, because his train was delayed. He rattles off the circuitous connection he'll make to complete his journey--a lovely metaphor for his emotional passage from traumatized ex-prisoner of war to a psychologically strengthened individual.
In a triumph of style over substance, South Korean director Chan-wook Park transforms a relatively isolated house in rural Connecticut into an emotional pressure cooker. The funeral for husband Richard Stoker brings his long-absent brother Charlie to help wife Evie and daughter India. But an undercurrent of distrust makes clear that danger awaits this family.
Over several years, the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute's Celluloid Couch series at Webster University has featured select films rich with psychological texture. After each screening a professional in the psychoanalytic field provides insightful analysis. This summer's three-film program kicks off on Thursday, May 5th with Margot at the Wedding with analysis provided by Michael Deal, MA, LPC.