The faux-literary narration giving episodic character evaluations, works wonders. Tackling tough subjects such as infidelity, pornography, paedophilia and loneliness; it's one of the most polemical films not made by Solondz, Haneke or Noe. Suburban dystopia is scrutinised through characters with distinctly opposing ideologies. This film grapples with conservative and liberal solutions to societal issues with skill.
A powerful character study that twists many cinematic conventions and shocks the viewer with disturbing scenes that contrast with the lily-white setting in suburbia. Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley are terrific. Still, something about the movie feels heavy-handed.
Tales of affluent, suburban ennui are dime a dozen and exhaustingly cliched. However, amidst such cliches found in this film, there are wonderful fragments of narrative, hypnotic uses of aural rhythms and a magnificent cast. Jackie Earle Haley stands above the others, delivering a taut, challenging performance that manages to elicit both empathy and disgust.
Sensationalism and pseudo indie feel helps to sell movies despite a rather inane content, but it doesn't really do anything to me.
The narration causes fatigue and doesn't really contribute to anything important, aside from very brief keen examinations.
Jackie Earle Haley's character should have been explored deeper. He and his mother (Phyllis Sommerville) play the most interesting parts of the whole.
There's times when it drifts into a weird, too serious tone, but when LC's relationship to it's material is distant & artful, focused on pacing, composition, allowing the performances to do the emotional heavy lifting... brilliant. MUST BE SAID: Bizarre to watch post-Trayvon, major narrative thread centers on an unhinged citizen vigilante ex-cop who's disgraced cuz he shot/killed an unarmed black boy while on duty!