Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Canada, 1997. Alliance Communications Corporation, Ego Film Arts, Telefilm Canada, The Harold Greenberg Fund, The Movie Network, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. Screenplay by Atom Egoyan, based on the novel by Russell Banks. Cinematography by Paul Sarossy. Produced by Atom Egoyan, Camelia Frieberg. Music by Mychael Danna. Production Design by Phillip Barker. Costume Design by Beth Pasternak. Film Editing by Susan Shipton. Academy Awards 1997. Cannes Film Festival 1997. Independent Spirit Awards 1997. Toronto International Film Festival 1997.
Atom Egoyan’s critical hit drama is a sometimes precious but effective and haunting film. Ian Holm is the bloodsucking lawyer who visits Alberta in order to rally up its residents and get himself a job as their legal representation, should they want to sue the company that manufactured a bus that killed many children in an accident. Visiting all the residents of the city, he finally comes to one of the tragedy’s few survivors (Sarah Polley), who unwittingly has the fate of her town thrown into her deciding hands. Egoyan’s crafty camera and sharply written script (based on the novel by Russell Banks, see also Affliction) guide a terrific ensemble of actors (Gabrielle Rose and Alberta Watson being stand-outs), so that even Polley’s monotoned performance is not a detraction.