Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Year Released: 2000
Panicked, actually, for the first couple of minutes, fearing it was going to go in the melancholy direction, but surprisingly stays afloat, and maintains a sort-of cautious dignity. Lonergan's script, which is about post-traumatic stress disorder, really brings out the maladjusted nature of these two people who, we fear, will never overcome tragedy, and whose lost childhood and insecurity stand in their ways of living normally and fully integrating with society (Mark Ruffalo, in a great performance, is paired up with Laura Linney's son, and you have difficulty distinguishing who is more advanced emotionally). For once, it's a picture that's hardly about what is said but more about what is not, and cannot, be uttered. How the weight of all this doesn't cause a severe implosion is beyond me - it feels light and buoyant when it shouldn't - but that's because Lonergan's talent lies in minimalism over overwrought speeches and dry, extended pacing. The ending is a complete disappointment, and the film doesn't "finish" on a satisfactory note, leaving closure to the birds, and perhaps his style, more Jarmusch than Lee, tends to try one's patience, but it's still a complex effort and a wonderful respite from the other pictures released in 2000.