Together, these stories paint a devastating portrait of several women whose lives are linked by a single act of violence.
2 ratings and 2 reviews
When I heard about the structure of this film--five segments chronicling five people's experiences of a girl's murder--I was expecting something a little bit gimmicky, a little bit Happy Endings. I wasn't expecting an absolute gem with a surprising bite and a fantastic ensemble cast, which is what I got.
The genius lies in the film's constant talking around the subject. It isn't a murder mystery. Although we learn things along the way which eventually lead us to the picture of what must have happened (never shown onscreen, to its credit), the 'clues' aren't the point. We never see the point of view of a crime investigator, or a journalist, as you might expect. Instead the five women whose stories are told have, in some cases, very little (the most compelling subplot, absolutely nothing) to do with the murder. We learn about a prostitute who lived with the dead girl; an eerily introspective, repressed woman (Toni Collette) whose discovery of the dead girl leads her to freedom of sorts; a forensics worker who wants resolution to her own family tragedy. And slowly a wonderful, intense, gritty picture is built up of pain and repression, love and hate, tightly-held emotions and cathartic moments.
I was almost expecting the final segment, told from the perspective of 'the dead girl' herself, to be anticlimactic after all this. That's when Brittany Murphy blew me away. No stereotypical victim here--a ballsy, maternal, foul-mouthed hooker who miraculously defied cliche. For her performance alone, this film is worth seeing! Brilliantly, the film ends with her radiant face--again, catharsis, not tragedy. The mingled hope and despair caused by her present joy and future fate is a perfect ending to the bittersweet film.
Handheld cameras, landscapes drained of colour and dim lighting may create a mood, but here the gloom never really lifts... Full review.
The film is mired in gloom, not just sadness, but heaviness... Full review.
The film is also an impressive showcase for a large ensemble cast that also includes Josh Brolin, James Franco and Kerry Washington. The standout, however, is Hurt, who gives an almost unbelievably courageous performance as the movie's least sympathetic character... Full review.
By the movie's end, writer-director Karen Moncrieff's The Dead Girl delivers considerable emotional impact. But that doesn't mean you've enjoyed the journey... Full review.
Just when it seems as though the language of insult and humiliation couldn’t get any nastier, the movie escalates the barrage... Full review.
1/2 The Dead Girl is not for date night, and its not your pick if you've had a had a bad week and need some cheering up. It's sad, bleak and harrowing and laced with just a whisper of hope... Full review.
More ambitious than her 2002 debut, "Blue Car," Moncrieff's new film maintains her focus on women, expanding to include a range of ages, circumstances and psychologies. Picture's drama, however, is deliberately fractured into a quintet of stories that vary considerably in their overall impact... Full review.