Readers of my other comments on Julianne Moore know that I credit her with being one of the few actresses that can do “folded” acting. That’s where the actor presents us with two characters, one usually _in_ the story and another that engages in a separate, often contradictory conversation with the viewer, with some distance from the story.
Moore has pulled off some remarkable projects that depend on this.
A standard setup for a folded project is the untrusted narrator where that narrator is mad, and specifically mad in a way where they are possibly creating the reality we are seeing. Its the “Lolita” effect of the untrusted narrator where we understand that part of what we see is “real” and part created.
Its a well suited trick because film is about delivering memories, and this story deals with the taking of memories. In that regard, its like the “Spotless Mind” project of our other great folding actress, Kate Winslet.
This project starts out that way; that is why Moore was chosen. She gives us her folds: at one level she plays a woman who has lost her child. At another level, she steps outside the potential “Diabolique“ role and presents us with the fold.
About a third of the way through, the story discards that folded mode and shifts into something quite different, an alien thriller. That shift from one genre to another happens when one car collides with another. That is just one of the several masterstrokes of storytelling because it prepares the viewer for the similar effect of people being ripped into the sky.
We should be thankful on two accounts. The first is that she can do this at all. There are fewer than eight living actors that can to my knowledge, and not even that many that know the effect exists.
But we have to could our blessings that there are filmmakers that understand this and employ someone who can do it. (Kidman — the first choice for Telly, the “teller” — can do this too.) Not even Moore’s own filmmaker husband knows this score.
The story wraps up with the re-establishment of the setting at the beginning. Who will believe that all this is not imagined?
Posted in 2004
Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.