Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 2001. i5 Films. Screenplay by Scott McGehee, David Siegel, based on the novel The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding. Cinematography by Giles Nuttgens. Produced by David Siegel. Music by Peter Nashel. Production Design by Kelly McGehee, Christopher Tandon. Costume Design by Sabrina Rosen. Film Editing by Lauren Zuckerman. Golden Globe Awards 2001. Independent Spirit Awards 2001. National Board of Review Awards 2001. New York Film Critics Awards 2001.
Brilliant thriller that is the perfect showcase for the phenomenal talents of its star Tilda Swinton. She plays a Navy housewife whose worries over her son’s recent car accident are escalated to a fever pitch when the body of the gay bar owner whom she didn’t want him to be friends with turns up on the beach in front of her home. Fearing her son might have murdered him, and fearing even more what that could mean about her son in more ways than one, she takes great pains to hide the body. The next day, mysterious con man Goran Visnjic shows up with an explicit videotape starring her son and the victim that he threatens to show to the police unless she gives him $50,000 in one day. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel said that they chose Swinton because of how in earlier British films they’d noticed how intense she was in close-ups, which is how they wanted to shoot her character for most of the film. The assumption pays off greatly, and Swinton’s every facial expression is a fascinating experience in character development. This is a beautifully shot tale about how homophobia and lies between family members can lead to grave results, and best of all it’s wrapped up in a murder mystery. A must-see.