You can’t watch the film or discuss the film without mentioning the work of Douglas Sirk—Haynes entirely apes his style—this doesn’t have John Waters Cry Baby irony and pastiche—it’s no PT Anderson “doing” Scorsese with Boogie Nights or even Haynes nodding a little (perhaps not knowingly) to Cronenberg with Safe– this is like lost Sirk film
Shot in 35mm
Roeper— triumph or art direction and acting
Elmer Bernstein—last feature film score- died in 2004—he’s 80 when released
Mark Friedberg—production designed- lots of Jarmusch films (Paterson, Broken Flowers), Wes Anderson (life aquatic, Darjeeling) and Ang Lee (Ice Storm)- shocked he didn’t get nominated
Heavy font titles in opening and “The End” from Sirk
Moore can play unintelligent very well- but I don’t think this is that- she’s naive, clean cut- “Leave it to Beaver”—“oh jeez” her son says and she says “that’s not the kind of language we use in this house”
Fluorescent lighting- neon street signs—blue day for night sequences—Nicholas Ray- Sirk
The autumn leaves (stunningly beautiful) blocking the mise-en-scene at least three times—marvelous landscaping- a statement on the film, era, city, person, and a thing of beauty to look at— triumph of costume
Supporting actors- Viola Davis, Patricia Clarkston is fabulous- she was everywhere in 2002 (well in 2002 and 2003- Dogville and The Station Agent in 2003)
Again this is unlike Almodovar in the influence of Sirk. Almodovar is also a major figure in Queer cinema’s history (like Haynes) and influenced by Sirk who works in melodrama… but this is not a reimagining (like Tarantino with his B movie roorts or Altman winking at 40’s detective films with The Long Goodbye)—this is Sirk—Haynes nails the period and film details (like rear-projection driving). Almodovar uses Sirk’s influence to carve his own path
Multiple drop-dead gorgeous mise-en-scene set design achievements
Wearing masks, suburban hypocrisy
Might be the strongest career performance from all three leads- Dennis Haysbert, Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid – I think Moore is slightly stronger in Boogie Nights and Safe but those three are virtually tied- she’s perfect here—Quaid is also very good in The Right Stuff
Back to Moore—her face during pivotal scenes—the film and drama of it is really a series of crushing blows for her—when Quaid says he’s fallen in love, the famous train departure of Haysbert’s character—
HR/MS—probably MS or higher if it wasn’t such a Sirk repackaging
I think Quaid and Moore are nearly equals here in terms of performance & characters. The main story is more of Moore’s and even though Quaid has the screen time of a lead, I think I’d probably nominate and award him the win in supporting category. What are your thoughts on that.
@MASH- Thanks for sharing this. I’ll take a closer look at 2002 when I update the page. Quaid is great- no qualms with that. Depends on how someone would categorize Coogan in 24 Hour Party People I guess.
Coogan is lead imo.
@MASH- Perhaps- I just don’t do the lead/supporting thing/discussion