I felt like a fish bobbing up at bait I didn't recognize, but I sure got
hooked. Michael Winterbottom's wandering camera takes a raw look at the intertwining lives of
three sisters in London. What is mesmerizing about this film is the drive for survival. The three
girls have a wonderful spirit, quite surprising considering the sour state of
their lives at this particular moment. Coupled with the beaten shock of a
father and the mother who sucks the last ounce of life from him, the three
girls rise above the odds.
|Hand held and natural. ŠUniversal
The action takes place during one week in the lives of these people. The events
are rather ordinary, but they take on enormous proportions within the context of the film's flow.
The hand held camera work blends intimately and seamlessly with the characters.
Winterbottom is truly a conductor sitting in front of the editing bay, waving
his hands with certain decision in creating a musical rhythm for this moody
film. Winterbottom even manages to make some camera effects especially
The outstanding ensemble cast is led by the shy charm of Gina McKee.
McKee's Nadia exhibits a modest hunger for happiness. There's no greed pushing at the base of this
woman. She wants her modest share of happiness. McKee makes you want her to find her love. Shirley
Henderson and Molly Parker are equally appealing in their very honest performances as Nadia's
sisters Molly and Debbie. Kika Markham plays the mother of the girls with pathetic
authenticity and Jack Shepherd is perfectly beaten as dad. Ian Hart creates
another unique character as Debbie's ex husband.
Get used to it, the grain that is, if you want to enjoy this film on DVD.
Winterbottom lets the grain all hang out in an attempt to add even more grittiness to this tale than it
already has. The shooting style does give a natural immediacy to the material.
The DVD transfer is true to the film material. Grain is prevalent, but
controlled and consistent. Color is slightly muted, again, perhaps washed by
the grain. The film was shot Super 16 for flexibility of all the hand held
shots. Lighting is also almost completely natural. The images are sharp
through the grain, the shadow detail just fine. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround
mix catches the beat of the city and the action of the clubs. Michael Nyman's
excellent score emphasizes the pathos in the air and is cleanly rendered on
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Tilting at Hollywood
He's part of the dynamic duo that restored Lawrence
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