Sunday, December 6, 2009


An ensemble film depends on every single actor doing a wonderful job. The danger is when there is even a slightly weak link- that actor will be somewhat ignored while the viewer pays attention to the better actor. In this movie, the best actor is the child actor Bailee Madison. It is up to the adults to keep pace. Tobey McGuire and Jake Gyllenhaal hold their own as the brothers who switch places as the good/bad child in the family. Natalie Portman, who is a very boring actress to watch and listen to, limps her way through as the wife who believes her husband (McGuire) is dead and picks up with his brother (Gyllenhaal). There is plenty of tension. It's a good movie, and it is interesting to watch. There is a problem however, and that is that it just isn't enough. A complex story becomes a simple story. McGuire tries to save it by using his eyes to express his craziness. But truly- the kids tell the story better than anyone. I'd recommend it. Yet, everyone in this film really seems like they are working too hard to make it a film. It feels far more like a play.