Restaurants Fun Places Movies Bands Lyrics

The Weight of Water
Buy the DVD  Barnes &
Length:1h 53mins
Cast:Kathryn Bigelow, Catherine McCormack, Sarah Polley, Sean Penn

This gripping drama ambitiously intertwines two separate narratives, combining the investigation of a 19th-century "true crime" mystery with the unraveling of a contemporary marriage. The relationship of these seemingly disparate storylines drives The Weight of Water, an uncharacteristic film from Kathryn Bigelow (K-19: The Widowmaker), one of Hollywood's few female genre directors. It begins with photographer Jean Janes (Catherine McCormack), her Pulitzer Prize-winning husband (Sean Penn), her brother-in-law (Josh Lucas), and his new girlfriend (Elizabeth Hurley) visiting a remote island off the coast of Maine. Janes is researching the brutal 1873 murder of two Norwegian women -- a crime witnessed by fellow immigrant Maren Hontvedt (Sarah Polley), whose older sister was one of the victims. The Hontvedt story, told in flashback, is particularly absorbing because, under Bigelow's direction, Maren appears to be psychologically opaque; viewers might easily believe they know what she's thinking and yet be completely mistaken. Obviously, there's a great deal more to her than meets the eye, as both Janes and the home viewer will come to learn. The Alice Arlen-Christopher Kyle screenplay, quite faithful to the novel by Anita Shreve, is unusually dense and complicated; it eschews formula and defies audience expectations. Frankly, the material isn't always well served by such high-profile actors as Penn and Hurley, whose in-your-face performances are a bit overwhelming. But Bigelow, who has shown herself to be comfortable with male-dominated stories of action and conflict, directs with surprising restraint and turns in a compelling film that ranks among her best. Ed Hulse

Contact    Advertise

© 2003 All rights reserved.