Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dark Water

I've never been a fan of Walter Salles' cinema. I find it meandering and uninterestingly ponderous. And the current trend of J-horror remakes has become the most annoying Hollywood trend since the "independent" movement of the 90s.

So it was with great surprise that I found myself sucked in early on by Salles' remake of Hideo Nakata's Dark Water. The story of a newly-divorced, mentally unstable woman (Jennifer Connelly, remarkable), who is forced to move into a squalid apartment across the river from Manhattan. A victim of abandonment and childhood trauma, Dahlia (Connelly) and her daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) soon find themselves at the center of a mysterious ghost story, and a riveting tale of loss and parenthood.

And then everything fell apart. To the detriment of everything that has come before, Salles' Dark Water abandoned what was an intriguing dramatic narrative and wasted it on what seemed like four climaxes, none of them in service of what came before. Salles' patient style was perfectly suited to telling the first three-quarters of the film; the last quarter couldn't have been saved by anyone but the most talented of auteurs.

Grade: C-

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