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Suspicious River (movie post)



(posting for gothamnights / gothamnights.wordpress.com)



Suspicious River, based on the novel by Laura Kasischke, tells the story of Leila Murray (Molly Parker), a hotel clerk in a loveless marriage who begins to sell sexual favors to her customers. One of these customers, Gary Jensen (hello, Callum!) takes a particular interest in her, and Leila is seduced by him in spite of (and perhaps because of) the darkness she senses within him.



The IMDB page: Suspicious River (2000)

Director is Lynne Stopkewich, most famous for Kissed, also starring Molly Parker. Stopkewich also directed episodes of The 'L' Word, Da Vinci's Inquest, and Bliss, shows in which CKR has guest-starred (though she didn't direct his episodes). Molly Parker has worked with CKR on numerous ocassions, most notably Twitch City; Hard Core Logo; The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky; and Little Criminals. Deanna Milligan and Sarah-Jane Redmond worked with CKR in the "Ugly-Quick" episode of Da Vinci's Inquest. Sarah-Jane Redmond also costarred with Callum in The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Ingrid Tesch, who was in Battlestar Galactica: Razor, has played Callum's wife twice: in Suspicious River and in the pilot for Tru Calling. Jay Brazeau, one of Leila's clients in SR, worked with Callum in the "Lazarus" episode of The X-Files.



Cast / Characters:

Molly Parker
Callum Keith Rennie
Mary Kate Welsh
Joel Bissonnette
Deanna Milligan
Sarah-Jane Redmond
Norman Armour
Byron Lucas
Ingrid Tesch

Leila Murray
Gary Jensen
Young girl
Rick Schmidt
Millie
Bonnie, the mother
Jack, the father
Uncle Andy
Gary's wife



Year: 2000

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Country: Canada

IMDB rating: 5.8/10 (386 votes)

Genre: Drama

Keywords: Female Nudity, Pimp, Group Sex, Rough Sex, Nudity, Fellatio, Female Frontal Nudity, Adultery, Sadomasochism, Sexual Abuse, Gang Rape, Passive Resistance, Sexless Marriage, Prostitute, Trauma, Violence, Based On Novel



Awards:

-Nominated for Grand Prix Award at the Bratislava International Film Festival

-Leo Award Nominations:
  • Best Director of Feature Length Drama (Lynne Stopkewich)

  • Best Musical Score of Feature Length Drama (Don MacDonald)

  • Best Overall Sound of Best Feature Length Drama

  • Best Performance of Feature Length Drama - Female (Molly Parker)

  • Best Picture Editing of Feature Length Drama (Allan Lee)

  • Best Screenwriter of Feature Length Drama (Lynne Stopkewich)

-Leo Award Wins:
  • Best Cinematography of Feature Length Drama (Gregory Middleton)

  • Best Feature Length Drama

  • Best Performance of Feature Length Drama - Male (Callum Keith Rennie)



There are 17 IMDB User comments. They are about evenly split down the middle between those that love the film and those that loathe it. The people who hate it cite the disturbing themes of the film as a big turn-off, and say that it goes overboard in being disturbing (they also seemed to be under the impression that it was going to be a 'fun, sexy' film, or a love story, which it's not). Those that love it praise it for its unflinching exploration of those same themes, as well as the spectacular performances by the leads. In fact, even those that hate it tend to like the performances (Callum receives almost universal praise for his role in this). It was difficult to find a review to post, since the reviews for this film tend to spoil a major plot-point, so I settled on the one below.

One example:

I read quite a few reviews here before I opted to buy Suspicious River. I had heard quite a bit about it while it was filming, but then was a bit put off on actually buying it. I finally did and am glad I did.

I've become a fan of Canadian film the last few years and find that many of them could be considered 'disturbing' by some. I didn't find Suspicious River all that disturbing, but an interesting view of a young woman fighting her demons. Certainly this film was no more disturbing than, say, Crash or The Sweet Hereafter. I thought the film was extremely well done. Both Parker and Rennie did justice to their roles. I never considered Parker's lack of emotion to be a flaw, but an integral part of her character.

Probably a bit too edgy for mainstream audiences, with its long silences and scenery shots, but for me, it all enhanced the mood of the film. I've found I really enjoy the smaller scale, more character driven films by Canadian filmmakers. It's also fun, since the pool of Canadian actors is much smaller than in the US and therefore, you get to see actors playing a multitude, very different parts. I enjoyed the film very much.


You can find all the comments here.



Callum Quotient:
Technically, he's there for about 50% of the picture, but he feels like he's there a lot more, since his character is felt even in scenes that Callum doesn't inhabit.



Pictures:

(borrowed from c_regalis, Cap it! Before I Die of Waitin'!, and Scriggle)

























Quotes:

  • Gary: Want a beer?

    Leila: I can't; I'm working.

    Gary: Well, you can come up here and give blowjobs to total strangers, but they won't let you drink a beer?!

  • Leila: So why'd you hit me, then?

    Gary: Sweetheart, I have no idea. That's the truth. Something sick in me, I guess.

  • Gary tries to start a conversation with Leila in the pouring rain:

    Gary: Whoo, sure is a beautiful day!

  • When Leila finishes her services in one of the rooms, she runs into Gary, who has been waiting for her outside:

    Gary (grabbing her roughly): Jesus, sweetheart, how often have you been doing this anyway? Huh? How often?

  • Gary: I wanted you to stay at the motel with me.

    Leila: You wanted me?

    Gary: Oh, yeah, all to myself. And I want you to trust me, cuz I feel like you should trust me, but now I realize how fucking dumb that is! I mean, why the hell should you trust me?! Why the fuck should you trust me?!




Trivia:

  • The film takes place in the early 80s, so Molly and and the director went to pick out vintage clothes for her character to wear.

  • There is a recurring theme of birds and flight in the design, in everything from Molly's shirt to the little girl's room decorations.

  • Two of Leila's customers (the abusive Ball-Cap Man and Don S. Davis) went on to star in Stargate SG-1.

  • Callum bought a learning kit which he wore throughout filming, so he could change his accent to be more American Western.

  • Joel Bissonnette, who plays Leila's husband, would eventually become Molly's brother-in-law.



Interesting scenes:

  • Leila's introduction to Gary, and their subsequent first encounter in the hotel room: it is very interesting to see both Molly and Callum's acting here. He hits her, and after her initial shock, she yearningly offers herself to him again. In the meantime, he's trying to ascertain whether she'll go along with it, or run off in anger, again, without any words.

  • Gary's apology. Director Lynn Stopkewich said that Gary, as written on paper, was more one-dimensional, but Callum was determined to make him more real, so he added genuine feelings of confusion/remorse to Gary's apology.

  • There scene in bed, when she stops charging Gary, because Callum is HOT!

  • The scene in the car, during their daytrip. This is a scene that encapsulates Gary perfectly (and displays Callum's talents as an actor), as he is simultaneously charming, cruel and creepy. The film wouldn't work if he couldn't do all three things at once. In this scene, he delivers the same line again, again, and again, each time differently and more sinisterly, until what starts out as a compliment ends up as a threat.

  • Leila's remembrance of her childhood. This is an amazing bit of acting by Molly Parker.




Do I want to show this to my parents / friends / co-workers?
Poll #1263644 Suspicious River

Overall rating

Very well made, well-directed/acted film.
16(55.2%)
It was really good.
6(20.7%)
It's okay.
5(17.2%)
Nothing to write home about.
0(0.0%)
No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
0(0.0%)

Violence

Very sweet, uplifting film.
0(0.0%)
Nothing really bad happens.
0(0.0%)
There's a bit of violence here and there.
11(39.3%)
Really more violent than it needed to be.
9(32.1%)
Good heavens, did anyone survive this film?!
8(28.6%)

Humor

I split some internal organs, I was laughing so hard!
0(0.0%)
Those guys who visit the hotel clown around all the time.
0(0.0%)
Leila is a little comedienne.
0(0.0%)
There's a couple of jaded smiles here and there.
14(48.3%)
I've been to funerals with more humor than this.
14(48.3%)

Sexual content

Porn, porn, porn!
1(3.4%)
The protagonist is a prostitute, so people are bound to get naked.
14(48.3%)
Just enough to get the point across.
3(10.3%)
There's surprisingly little nudity, considering the subject matter.
1(3.4%)
Why didn't we get more naked Callum?!
4(13.8%)

Sexual violence

Callum and the rest of Leila's clients are just adorable, shy kittens.
2(7.1%)
There's very little sexual violence.
0(0.0%)
There's some, but it doesn't look like they seriously hurt her.
1(3.6%)
Callum slaps her up and down the block!
3(10.7%)
Callum and every other man in the movie slap her up and down the block!
21(75.0%)




Gary Jensen
Poll #1263645 Gary Jensen

Character

Every man should aspire to be like Gary.
0(0.0%)
He'd be a great guy to have a relationship with.
1(3.4%)
Regular Joe.
0(0.0%)
He has a bit of a dark side.
1(3.4%)
Run! Run like the wind in the opposite direction!
27(93.1%)

How many people does he kill?

He saves women and puppies on his free time.
0(0.0%)
He doesn't kill anyone, as far as we know.
6(20.0%)
He probably killed a couple of people here and there.
9(30.0%)
He must have killed five, at least!
1(3.3%)
Who knows how many women he buried in the woods?!
12(40.0%)

Craziness

He's the sanest one in the film.
0(0.0%)
He's really well-adjusted.
0(0.0%)
He gets a bit angry now and then.
0(0.0%)
He's a misogynistic bastard!
23(76.7%)
He's batshit crazy!
6(20.0%)

Hotness

Scorching! Did you see that bedroom scene?!
12(40.0%)
Hello, this is Callum we're talking about, so why is there even a question of hotness?
10(33.3%)
I wouldn't kick outta bed...or charge him, for that matter.
0(0.0%)
The fact that he's a pig makes him less attractive to me.
0(0.0%)
Wouldn't touch him if he paid me!
1(3.3%)

Queerness

Totally queer, probably getting it on with Baseball-Cap Guy.
0(0.0%)
Did you notice the lack of ladies in his cabin?
2(6.7%)
Probably swings both ways.
3(10.0%)
I think he likes the ladies.
6(20.0%)
Totally into women, loving them, beating them, abusing them. Nice fella!
16(53.3%)




Does he die?

You really want to know? Are you sure? Really sure? Well, then. (highlight to read)

::He doesn't die.::




Articles/interviews/Reviews:

Review from the BBC:

Molly Parker's detached anti-hero is compelling, while Callum Keith Rennie can do mysterious, sympathetic, and menacing with equal conviction.

From The BBC.



From the Edmonton Journal (Sepember 12, 2000):

He shoots, He scores: Edmonton's own Callum Keith Rennie, who got his start in a late 80's Fringe production of American Buffalo, is here with Suspicious River, the latest from director Lynn (Kissed) Stopkewich. It's a gutsy performance from Rennie, and a daring film from the Canadian director who made necrophilia, well, understandable.

Found here.



From the Edmonton Journal (March 25, 2001):

He's been compared to both James Dean and Brad Pitt, but Callum Keith Rennie is his own man, plain and simple. The Edmonton-raised actor has worked with nearly every Canadian director of note, from Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo) to David Cronenberg (eXistenZ), though he's probably best recognized for his role opposite Paul Gross on the Mountie-out-of-water dramedy Due South. Rennie popped up on screen twice during last week's Local Heroes International Film Festival, appearing in Memento and co-starring with Molly Parker in Lynne Stopkewich's Suspicious River.

Found here.



From The Edmonton Sun (March 22, 2001):

Suspicious River sees Rennie playing a dangerous drifter who fulfils Molly Parker's character's disturbing desires."In the book (by author Laura Kasischke) the character is described as unremarkable, and I kind of liked that," Rennie said. "He wasn't this, he wasn't that. He's one of those characters that's a fine line to play, so he's somewhat sympathetic in some way."

From The CKR Files.



"The Tao of Callum Keith Rennie"- From TAKE ONE, December 2001

But his image is something Rennie seems to be actively toying with, instead of catering to what has been attributed to him. His character of Gary Jensen in Lynne Stopkewich's Suspicious River strays into something new - malevolence. Blithely referred to as a Canadian Belle du jour, this film is based on Laura Kasischke's novel about Leila Murray (Molly Parker), a lonely motel receptionist who allows her submissive nature to be sexually exploited by guests in an effort to find some measure of control in her life. She meets Jensen (Rennie), a stranger who at first protects her and then seduces her into participating in her own destruction. The difference between the two films is that the resolution in Belle du jour is limited to plot strategy, while in Stopkewich's film there is emotional closure as well.

In Suspicious River, Rennie is almost unrecognizable when he first appears on screen. He has bulked up, losing the whimsical degenerate silhouette that was part of his cachet. Yet, in his character there is something that speaks both to and from the actor, almost a domestic familiarity with the wasteland that is Jensen. "There's a cliched form in playing the bad guy, a Hollywood-type of bad guy," says Rennie. "It's a very hard thing to break away from. Lynne's film is so realistic and she keeps it at a low hum, like a monotonous sickness, that Jensen couldn't be a character that pops or is telegraphed in anyway that is obvious. Most people who are bad are slow to show their form. He believes he isn't wrong - the joyous Gary Jensen."

"I forced Callum to cram himself into an extremely tight pair of jeans for this movie," Lynne Stopkewich laughs. "I've wanted to work with him ever since I saw him in Mina's Double Happiness. I wanted to be the director to really push him, to be the one who was going to give him something he could really sink his teeth into and do something phenomenal. And I have to say I think his performance in Suspicious River is the finest I've ever seen from him. I drove him crazy, but he was incredibly generous. He just said to me, 'Make me your meat puppet.'"

Languid malignancy - a character tumour played out, dominating its host - Rennie dials evil down to a murmur in Suspicious River. No faux elegance, no glib intellectualizing, nothing to distract from the complete ordinariness of the personality.


Transcript from The CKR Files, scans available here.



Regarding Callum's approach to Gary:

Here's the infamous Gary Jensen, played by Callum Keith Rennie, who is a Canadian actor, very well known, and very accomplished. You know, I really think that this is one of Callum's finest roles. He really pulled out all the stops with this, and brought a life to the character that far exceeded what was written on the page. I think Gary is one of those characters that would be very easy to hate, and what was great about working with Callum was that he insisted on making Gary real, and for him to have his own vulnerabilities and his own flaws, and I think that's what really brought a life to this character and really, in a sense, made the attraction between Leila and Gary real, because they're both flawed, and they can see it in each other. That's what brings them together.

From Lynne Stopkewich's Directo's Commentary on the Region 1 Tartan DVD (10:50).



Regarding Molly's working relationship with Callum:

Another one of my favorite things to do is to cast actors opposite Molly that she knows realy well....they had automatic chemistry, and the same is definitely true in Suspicious River between Molly and Callum, who are also longtime friends and have worked together before. So, in a sense, it made my job a lot easier.

From Lynne Stopkewich's Directo's Commentary on the Region 1 Tartan DVD (12:35).



Regarding Gary's apology for hitting Leila:

This is one of my favorite moments in the entire film, and in Callum's performance. It was quite extraordinary, because, of course, I'm a big fan of these screaming close-ups. It gets to be quite tiresome, I think, for an actor to have the camera about three inches from their face, but I just really love to see what's going on in their eyes. I remember when we were shooting the scene, that Callum kind of hit this emotional peak, where he really seems- Gary really seems- to really be struggling with his violent intention and where he's been hurting in his life, and his own understanding of why he's "bad." When we were shooting the scene, I recall Molly turning around after a take, and facing me with this look. I mean, her mouth was just hanging open; she was just quite blown away by Callum's performance. She was really worried because we were gonna turn around, and shoot her material, and she was worried about being able to match the intensity of his performance in that scene.

From Lynne Stopkewich's Directo's Commentary on the Region 1 Tartan DVD (19:50).



Regarding the scene where Gary asks Leila about her past:

It's interesting cuz he's listening to her, on the one hand, taking in more information about how he can set her up. On the other hand, the way Callum's playing him, you can see that he probably has a very similar story himself. He's as compelled to be with her as she is with him.

From Lynne Stopkewich's Directo's Commentary on the Region 1 Tartan DVD (49:30).




Links:

Press Notes from the movie (containing spoilers).


Wikipedia entry for Suspicious River (I made it as detailed as possible, so it's full of spoilers).


The Tao of Callum Keith Rennie- highly recommended article mentioned above, in which Callum discusses his approach to Gary and to acting in general.


c_regalis posted picspam for SR here.

stormymouse posted picspam for SR at Cap it! Before I Die of Waitin'!.




Availability:

The movie is widely available from retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.




In Conclusion:

I think the film is one of Callum's best (of the ones I've seen). Suspicious River may not be a film for everyone, as it deals with a very difficult subject matter. On the other hand, I think that it has been accused, unfairly, of being misogynistic. This isn't a misogynistic film; it's a film about misogynistic people, and that's an important distinction to make. I was fascinated by it because I am always curious to see how a female director will handle the onscreen abuse of a woman, and Stopkewich made some very interesting directorial decisions, choosing to show us representations of Leila's suffering without actually showing us Leila all bruised and battered. Nevertheless, she is abused and raped onscreen, so if this is something that you cannot bear to watch, it would be best to pass on this. Does the film have weaknesses? Yes, mostly in Gary's dialogue, but the overall quality here is really, really good, from cinematography, to acting and direction. It was compared by several of the reviewers to the famous Belle De Jour, since both deal with married women who explore prostitution as a means of fulfilling masochistic tendencies within themselves, and not out of financial necessity. Though Belle de Jour is the superior of the two films, in terms of technique and writing, I find that Suspicious River has better acting, as well as a much more sympathetic heroine.


Onto Callum: I made reference above to the fact that he's amazing in this, and the reason is that he manages to play so many emotions in Leila (and the audience) at the same time. As written, Gary is just disgusting, but Callum makes him genuinely charming and seductive, and this is crucial for our understanding of why Leila would fall for him. Even so, he's not just charming; he's also sinister, sometimes all at once. It's a great performance, and I would recommend this to all Callum fans.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
waltzforanight
Sep. 20th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Man oh man. I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago and I'm still reeling from it. I started out with awkward giggling at the beginning (sorry, but it was Hammond getting a blowjob for crying out loud - my brain was stuck on DO NOT COMPUTE), and by the end I was practically falling out of my chair. Callum was just amazing, IMO. Though it's not perfect, it definitely got me thinking - I spent a good while after the movie was over mentally flailing at things because I had no one to talk to about it. And it took me over a month to look at Michael Shanks without physically shuddering, heh.

Interestingly, though, I didn't have the same problem with Callum. I mean, both of their characters are pretty high on the Creepy Fucking Bastard scale, but I actually found Callum's bastardness to be attractive. (Not in the omg marry me! sense, but more along the lines of ooh, kinky, let's go!) Which probably says more about me than I care to think about.

(*flings self into community* Uh, hi!)
mary_the_fan
Sep. 20th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
but I actually found Callum's bastardness to be attractive. (Not in the omg marry me! sense, but more along the lines of ooh, kinky, let's go!) Which probably says more about me than I care to think about.

*raises hand* Ha. Yeah, I agree. Before he turned that final corner (the Corner of No Return to Hotness, IMO) part of me was really digging him. I mean, it's part of the effectiveness of the performance, I guess. He was meant to be seductive, and he is.

Plus, there's a level on which you're watching CKR, not the character. You know what I'm sayin'? I think you do. ;-D
waltzforanight
Sep. 21st, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly! All questioning into my psyche aside, it really is a testament to Callum's skill that I was able to understand why Leila was so drawn to Gary, right up to the Corner of No Return, and to feel that same thing myself. Really, it would have been so easy for a lesser actor to completely drop the ball on that one and simply do what was (apparently?) on the page.

Plus, there's a level on which you're watching CKR, not the character. You know what I'm sayin'? I think you do.
Oh yes! Yes, I do. :D
ext_114773
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
I actually found Callum's bastardness to be attractive. (Not in the omg marry me! sense, but more along the lines of ooh, kinky, let's go!) Which probably says more about me than I care to think about.

Tell me about it; I'm on the same boat.

waltzforanight
Sep. 21st, 2008 12:10 pm (UTC)
Well at least we're not alone in that. :D
0walking_naked0
Sep. 20th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
I love this film. When I first saw it, it sent me reeling for about a week. I think it was the first time I actually really disliked a character Callum played, for a start, but hey, you're not supposed to like him. But the way Callum played him was amazing - you like him, then you hate him, and somewhere along the line you feel kinda sorry for him.

Also, I'm a huge Stargate fan, so I had a moment when I was going - hey, Hammond's getting a blowjob! From a hooker! Ew! and, NO! Daniel's cheating on Jack! (Or Paul, or Mitchell, depending on who I'm pairing him with at the time). Which is the drawback to Canadian film, I guess. There's always at least one actor I recognise from somewhere else.

What else? Callum's accent bugged me. I don't like it. That, and the bits where he slips a bit kind of jarred me out of the film.

Other than a few little bits though, one of my favourite films.
callumvixen
Sep. 20th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Amazing post! Thank you :) You did wonderful justice to one of my favourite movies. Yes this movie is hard to watch at times and it is heartbreaking, but the performances are SO good.

And yes, in this, Callum is amazingly, frightfully, intensely, creepily, impossibly, mind-numbingly hot.
ext_114773
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked! I do love this movie a lot. It's not an easy film, but I do think it's a great one. It's wonderfully unassuming, yet does a lot, but does it quietly. I love it.

Then there's the Callum hotness.
hieronymousmosh
Sep. 20th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
they also seemed to be under the impression that it was going to be a 'fun, sexy' film

Oops! I can see that viewing turning out psychologically scarring.


let's just fix that...

Edited at 2008-09-20 05:54 pm (UTC)
mary_the_fan
Sep. 20th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
Great post! I love the transcripts from the director's commentary. This is really an excellent movie and a great CKR performance.

...and the reason is that he manages to play so many emotions in Leila (and the audience) at the same time.

Yes, I agree completely! You said that really well and very concisely. I'm gonna go the long way. :-)

One of my favorite things about Callum's performances is his ability to shift from one emotion to another so quickly, so lightly. He's got an automatic transmission, you know?

I'm thinking especially of movies like Falling Angels, Picture Claire, this one scene in The Invisible... Or even Due South: the scene where Ray sees his parents in the parking lot. His face. I said to my sister, watching with me, "Ok, that was about five different emotions right there." And after he hits Fraser. (Well, that was only two emotions, but both of them killed me.)

Sometimes it's on purpose (by the character) and used to almost hilarious effect. Right now I'm thinking of a scene in Shooting Gallery, where Mortensen pulls up in his car next to Jericho. Someone behind Mortensen starts honking, and he gets out of the car, yelling obscenities. But as he walks around the car to Jericho, there's the bright smile.

That one. *points to icon*

The scenes in Suspicious River that amazed me were that apology that Lynne S. talks about and also the scene out in the country, in the car. Yes, he's manipulating her, but there is also real stuff going on inside Gary. And I am in awe that Callum can SHOW us this. In the process of manipulating her, he reveals his own real emotion and real damage. That's what gets me --- the truth of his apologies and backtracking, even though he doesn't intend to be truthful. While he's playing his game, we see Gary shift unwittingly into an area of genuine emotion, then back again, in the blink of an eye. How does Callum do that? I demand to know. :-)

And, of course, Molly Parker. For me, her sweet spot is right here. These seemingly proper and resolute characters who hide a secret desire or flaw or pain. She's a master at the subtle shift that shows us how much there is going on inside her.

Ok, shutting up. :-) GREAT post, and thank you!!
ext_114773
Sep. 21st, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Great post! I love the transcripts from the director's commentary. This is really an excellent movie and a great CKR performance.

Thanks! I'm glad you liked! The director's commentaries are always interesting to me b/c I like to hear what they were thinking when they made certain decisions for the film in question.

In this case, I was further interested in two things: what Lynne thought of Callum (since this is, after all, dedicated to him), and why she chose to film Leila's sex scenes the way she did, since she made some great choices there. People watching the movie walk away thinking that it was much more violent than it actually was. This also happened with The Dark Knight recently. People kept talking about how violent it was, but the violence is actually more implied than shown, yet it feels like the film was very, very violent.


The scenes in Suspicious River that amazed me were that apology that Lynne S. talks about and also the scene out in the country, in the car. Yes, he's manipulating her, but there is also real stuff going on inside Gary. And I am in awe that Callum can SHOW us this. In the process of manipulating her, he reveals his own real emotion and real damage. That's what gets me --- the truth of his apologies and backtracking, even though he doesn't intend to be truthful. While he's playing his game, we see Gary shift unwittingly into an area of genuine emotion, then back again, in the blink of an eye. How does Callum do that? I demand to know. :-)

I totally agree with you regarding the two apology scenes (in the hotel and after the car), that Callum finds real emotion within Gary, emotion which Gary then uses to manipulate Leila. That being said, my favorite scene in the film is in the car itself, when he says:

"I bet they (men in general) can't keep their hands off you? They probably don't even try, do they, Leila? Do they? Do they? Do they?"

He just keeps repeating that same line over and over and over and over, and each time, he delivers it differently, and increasingly more threateningly. As I mentioned in my post above, the same line goes from compliment to threat. He's amazing in that scene!

And, of course, Molly Parker. For me, her sweet spot is right here. These seemingly proper and resolute characters who hide a secret desire or flaw or pain. She's a master at the subtle shift that shows us how much there is going on inside her.

Always love Molly, and I feel she didn't get the credit she deserved for this one. Several of the reviewers complained that she was lifeless, and it's like, ummmm, just cause she's lying there doesn't mean she's without emotion. She gives us tons of emotion in a very subtle way. A lesser actress would have gone into hysterics. Furthermore, the Leila character is supposed to be repressed.

Anyhoo, thanks for your comment.
mary_the_fan
Sep. 21st, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
ITA with all of that. :-)

Several of the reviewers complained that she was lifeless, and it's like, ummmm, just cause she's lying there doesn't mean she's without emotion. She gives us tons of emotion in a very subtle way. A lesser actress would have gone into hysterics. Furthermore, the Leila character is supposed to be repressed.

Absolutely. The whole point of her character is that she's acting something out. She's quite specifically not emotionally connecting with what's happening to her. Because it's not born out of any genuine feeling, it's a part she thinks she's meant to play, the only thing that makes any sense to her.

And the tragedy of her character is that, when she finally does start to feel something within the context of a sexual relationship, the game turns on her and she finds herself back where she started, playing dead. It's almost as if Gary proves to her that she really can't hope for any genuine feeling associated with sex. Therefore her lack of visible emotion in the climactic scene makes perfect sense to me.
zabira
Sep. 21st, 2008 08:03 am (UTC)
amazing post!!! thank you for putting it together.

and wow! it is so cool to see the transcript from the director's commentary. i really admire her, and her take on CKR's performance is fascinating.

&hearts
fullygoldy
Sep. 22nd, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
based on the pics alone, I'm adding this to my Netflix list *RIGHT NOW*!!!!!
c_regalis
Oct. 13th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Um, wow, IMDB keywords will never cease to amaze me. /c\

Hi! Kinda late with the commenting here. Sorry!

I love the scenes you chose, I agree with pretty much everything you said here.

I remember when we were shooting the scene, that Callum kind of hit this emotional peak, where he really seems- Gary really seems- to really be struggling with his violent intention and where he's been hurting in his life, and his own understanding of why he's "bad." When we were shooting the scene, I recall Molly turning around after a take, and facing me with this look. I mean, her mouth was just hanging open; she was just quite blown away by Callum's performance.

Eee! I mean, er, maybe not eee. I mean, I hadn't read that before. I like it.

I like your own take on the movie. Even though I can't agree, I just don't think it's a good movie. Ahem.

So, yes, in conclusion, beautiful post. <3
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