Friday, April 30, 2010

Moody and Haunting


Swedish director Lukas Moodysson has made several haunting films in his native language (Lily 4-Ever, F*cking Amal), and Mammoth (IFC), his English-language debut, continues an unbroken string of uncompromisingly adult character studies. In its multi-narrative structure, Mammoth superficially resembles shallow tripe like 21 Grams or Babel, but Moodyson targets something less allusive and more concrete in this engrossing look at a marriage disintegrating despite its partners’ efforts. Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams superbly play the disaffected couple, young Sophie Nyweide is astonishing as their daughter, and Marife Necesito heartbreakingly plays the Filipino nanny whose own family is being torn apart by her absence. Occasional stillborn moments—Williams running on her rooftop treadmill during a snowfall without slipping and falling is giggle-inducing—don’t detract from Mammoth’s unsparing, dark gaze. Unfortunately, no extras are included.

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