Dir: Ira Sachs, 2005, USA (108 mins)
Rip Torn, Dina Korzun, Darren E. Burrows
With her ironed blonde hair and magazine-prescribed glamour, Russian beauty Laura (Korzun) is the perfect trophy girlfriend to Alan James (Torn), an aging legend on the Memphis music circuit. Alan’s cheating, and boarish behaviour is countered by a comfortable house and a happy three-year-old son, so despite feeling numb and cut adrift, Laura does not complain. But the arrival of Alan’s estranged son Michael (Burrows), also dealing with his own marital problems, disturbs the precarious balance. As Michael views Laura first maliciously and then with another gaze entirely, the film’s tone shifts in a subtle and subdued manner, in keeping with Laura’s personal awakening.
Torn is in fine form as an egotistical bully unable to translate his love for his family beyond the display of selfish urges, and Korzun dazzles as Laura in her blankness; simultaneously attractive and powerless. The result is a film that provides an effective if bleak depiction of emotional dysfunction. Kate Taylor