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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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SNOW ANGELS: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Annie (Kate Beckinsale), waitress in the local Chinese restaurant, is separated from her husband Glenn (Sam Rockwell), grown fed up with his violent temper and alcohol problems. Their daughter Tara (Gracie Hudson) lives with Annie's mother and Annie is having an affair with her co-worker Barb's (Amy Sedaris) husband Nate (Nicky Katt). It's a small-knit community and everyone knows everyone's business. High school student Arthur (Michael Angarano) also works at the restaurant and has long had a crush on Annie. His parents have just separated and he is drawn to Lily (Olivia Thirlby), a new student at school.

Review by Louise Keller:
The title comes from Stewart O'Nan's novel on which the film is based. It's a story about people living in a small Pennsylvanian town, their lives and relationships. The infidelities, the marriage breakups, the quarrels, the work pressures, the flirtations, a demanding child - it all seems pretty much run of the mill. But director David Gordon Green, who has also written the screenplay, manages to draw us into all their lives as tragedy strikes, bringing them closer together and prising them further apart. Impressive for the mood it creates, the film may not totally satisfy, but the characters are richly depicted and reflect the snowy winter chill that surrounds them.

Although not much happens in the first half hour, we learn more than we think about each of the characters whose lives are intertwined. After her roles as a vampire in Underworld, it's good to see Kate Beckinsale in a gutsy dramatic role. Here she plays central pivot Annie, who is trying to keep her life on an even keel. It doesn't seem as though she is succeeding - her secret trysts with her best friend's husband in a local motel are making her more frustrated than happy. Sam Rockwell shows great range as her troubled ex-husband who has recently discovered Jesus, but it seems religion has not solved his problems. 'I'm not as much of a screw-up as you think I am,' his Glenn tells Annie, but it is hard to think of him as anything but. Michael Angarano's high-school student Arthur finds that his life is changing; his parents separation prompts him to pursue a relationship with a new fellow student with a penchant for photography. Then everything unravels.

'Sometimes we do things we can't explain,' Arthur's father tells him; 'It's easy to block out the things that upset us,' his mother confides. Grief plays out in different ways and the film reaches his crisis point after a crescendo of tension and sense of expectation. The snow and the cold surrounds play an integral part in Snow Angels; it's as though the footprints of the characters are imprinted in the snow.

Published October 30, 2008



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SNOW ANGELS: DVD (MA)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Michael Angarano, Kate Beckinsale, Griffin Dunne, Sam Rockwell, Amy Sedaris, Olivia Thirlby

PRODUCER: Dan Lindau, R. Paul Miller, Lisa Muskat, Cami Taylor

DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green

SCRIPT: David Gordon Green (Novel by Stuart O'Nan)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Orr

EDITOR: Not credited

MUSIC: Jeff McIlwain, David Wingo

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard A. Wright

RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: none

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: October 1, 2008







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