June 09, 2005

WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP
James Marsh, 1999

8.5
director James Marsh oversees an elegiac, sometimes poetic, retelling of the final decade of the 19th century in the lives of the residents of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. wonderfully narrated by Ian Holm, the story follows newspaper accounts of the town that include murder, loss, suicide, love, death, and everything in between. the recreations are nothing of the crappy America's Most Wanted kind. they include photographs and beautiful black and white imagery to plunge you back into a weird little time in the town's history when things seemed to go bad for some unknown reason. and although the stories could be depressing, the tone of the film is still kept light. James Marsh also knows when to pull out of the water for a breath of fresh air and flawlessly controls the flow of the film. also, notice the gentle score throughout the film (including one cool surprise). it feels as though i have discovered a fresh new voice in film (even though the film was made in '99) and will gladly follow him for some years to come. i just looked up his filmography and found out that he was an associate editor on Howards End and that he has a Gael Garcia Bernal film coming out this year (The King). can't wait to see what he does with it.

Posted by Sam | 2:45 PM |