Jan. 27, 2002

"In the Bedroom"

       That anyone is taking In the Bedroom seriously on any level is ridiculous.  It's a half-assed, second-rate TV movie at best.  At worst, it's just plain old crap.  That several different groups have nominated it for "Best Picture" is a very clear indication of just how bad recent movies really are.
       In act one a couple's nineteen-year-old son is dating a woman who is in the midst of a divorce from a hot-headed guy, and the hot-head kills the son.  Act two is the couple feeling grief, particularly since the hothead is out on bail.  Act three is the husband getting a gun and killing the hothead.  The end.
       The writer of this piece of junk's first huge error is making the nineteen-year-old kid the lead character.  Well, he can't be the lead character because he gets killed at the end of act one and then we're left with no lead character for the remainder of the film.  In act two we are left with two secondary characters, the husband and wife (Sissy Spacek), feeling bereavement for scene after scene after scene.  This is accomplished by placing one of them to the right of the screen and the other to the left, one staring at the floor, the other staring out the window, neither speaking, then very slowly fading out to black, then holding in the black for so long you simply must look around 

the theater to see how the other viewers are dealing with this.  I found them looking back at me.  Then the film does it again, then again, and again.  After an hour of this cinematic barbiturate, when it finally seemed inevitable that something simply had to happen, the husband pulling out a gun seemed like the worst possible choice.  Now it's going to become a revenge movie?  Well, it then wins for "Worst Revenge Film Ever."
       At least B movies like Vigilanteor Thou Shalt Not Kill . . . Except know that they're revenge films from the outset and remain true to themselves.  In the Bedroom is pretending to be a serious adult drama for two acts, then arbitrarily becomes a B revenge movie in act three, which I think is unacceptable storytelling technique -- you absolutely cannot change genres two acts into the story.
       If I'm honestly supposed to believe this is a real, average, middle-class American couple, then in 99.9% of the cases they would not revert to getting a gun and killing the murderer.  If you're going to legitimately tell me the .01% story of the average guy, and in this case a doctor, that actually does get a gun and kills the murderer, there must be some indication of this in acts one and two.  To pull it out of thin air ninety minutes into the film is just plain old terrible storytelling. 
       That Sissy Spacek keeps winning awards for this film is also ridiculous since her part is so woefully underwritten that even though she is a top-notch actor, she has damn near nothing to do.