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This is the one you might have heard about for the scene in which Nicole Kidman shares a bathtub with the young boy who insists that he is the reincarnation of her ten-years-dead husband.   There was plenty of tittering from the audience at this and other scenes (of which maybe one or two were actually meant to be funny) as the little boy convinces Kidman that he’s the real deal.   Without giving too much away, there’s a revelation late in the film that seems to explain everything and which comes as a bit of a letdown if you assume that all is revealed (as I confess I did).   I came out of the film rather underwhelmed, except by the top-notch acting, until my friend voiced a different interpretation that blindsided me.   Turns out that what had seemed an open-and-shut case had depths I’d not pondered.   I’d recommend this one with the caveat that it enhances the experience to pay close attention or at least to have an observant friend tag along.

Lauren Bacall plays Kidman’s mother, having last been seen opposite Kidman in Von Trier’s “Dogville”.   The director is Jonathan Glazer who gave us the memorable “Sexy Beast”.   His work here is art-film paced, with long, long takes that please me but which might be a bit much for today’s ADD-afflicted audiences.

- Nov 19, 2004  

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