Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews

Film Clips

Savage Grace

Savage Grace

Director:Tom Kalin
Cast:Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Elena Anaya, Eddie Redmayne
Release Date:2008

By Bret McCabe | Posted 6/25/2008

Director Tom Kalin dropped a sophisticated, sublime movie called Swoon into art houses in 1992, a movie that blended a highly stylized true-crime story with psychosexual fearlessness. He achieves an ever bolder anesthetization of the true-crime past with Savage Grace, only his second feature since. It's the decadent, disturbing drama of the crumbling marriage of Brooks Baekeland (Stephen Dillane), of the Bakelite fortune, and his wife Barbara (Julianne Moore), and how it affects their son Tony (Eddie Redmayne as an adult), episodically moving from the Baekeland's tony New York life in 1946 to their time abroad in Paris, Mallorca, and 1972 London, where their extravagant, almost stereotypically idle rich lives are brutally changed. And it's how Kalin embraces and subverts the wealth's stereotypes that unearth the most rewards here: Each locality and era is recreated with a hyper-awareness to the look and feel of movies representations of that era, and in each instance you almost feel like you're watching a parody that takes itself too seriously. But it's right then that Kalin hooks you--thanks, especially, to a typically fearsome performance from Moore and astutely controlled turn from Redmayne--setting you up for one of the more psychologically uncomfortable denouements in a movie this year.

E-mail Bret McCabe

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter