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(Review originally written at 8 March 2007)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a perfectly good dramatic movie to watch, with some good moments and a great cast. It however just isn't the best movie in its genre around in my opinion

The movie does make some odd choices with its drama. Such as for instance not showing the mothers reaction after the husband tells her their son has been killed. Or what about the reaction of the parents after they've seen their dead son. Or what about the funeral preparations. I know that the movie was trying to be original and different but does original mean leaving out the most potential most powerful and emotional moments? The movie also leaves some loose ends with some of its characters, such as Natalie and the boys. And in the end is the movie really that original and unpredictable? Not entirely. I mean I knew what the father's intentions were right after he had the private talk with the district attorney. From that point on it was clear were the movie was heading to.

And if this movie is about the coping of parents with the lose of their only son, than why does it take half of the movie to reach the point when the son dies? It makes the first part when you really start thinking about it overlong, since it merely serves as a build-up to the real emotions of the movie. So yes, I think that "In the Bedroom" is overrated, not because it's necessarily bad, I don't mean that at all but more because of the reason that it got 5 Oscar nominations, including one for best picture, while it really didn't deserved it.

But all criticism aside, this is a solid drama that is well worth watching. Its story is good enough to hold your interest and perhaps even grab you. The movie mainly works thanks because of the professional cast of the movie.

I especially liked Tom Wilkinson. Sissy Spacek also played a good role but I just couldn't ever really like her character. Nick Stahl also played a good, vulnerable part and Marisa Tomei's role also was good, though her screen time was a bit too limited. It was also refreshing to see William Mapother in a big role for a change and not in the usual cameo appearance which he often makes in his cousin's Tom Cruise movies. Though he also showed with his performance why he normally doesn't ever really play big parts. He just isn't the most talented actor of his generation and his performance was a bit off and shallow at times, even though he perhaps plays one of the most interesting and unpredictable characters of the movie. Karen Allen also makes a small and short appearance in the movie.

The movie is not really big in its emotions, which is a good thing, since it means that its not just another overblown heavy dramatic movie, despite its subject. Its drama is more in the subtle little moments in the movie, such as in the grieving process.

This also means that the movie is skillfully directed by Todd Field, who obviously knows how to handle the genre and how to do it with the right required style, without ever going over-the-top with anything and keep the movie as real as possible.

A good genre movie but just not really worthy of all that praise.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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