Friday, May 2, 2008

Serious, provocative and way off base

Needed: A moratorium on movies that in any way depend on school shootings to advance their plots. If you don’t believe me, take a look at director Vadim Perelman’s “The Life Before Her Eyes.” Perelman directed the serious and provocative “House of Sand and Fog,” but in this outing, he manages to turn a school shooting into a disturbing contrivance. His movie comes off as a heavyweight wannabe, sort of “Sophie’s Choice” meets “Elephant.” It all begins when Diana (Evan Rachel Wood) – a teen-ager given to sexual experimentation -- is cornered in the bathroom of her school with her best friend (Eva Amurri), a young woman who’s chaste and religious. The sicko killer who has imperiled the girls forces Diana to make a devastating decision. The movie then flashes forward 15 years to a time when the grown-up Diana (Uma Thurman) must deal with memories of the terrible event that marred her school days. “The Life Before Her Eyes” tries for a “Sixth Sense” twist at the end, but instead of feeling surprised, you may feel as if you’ve been had. You’ll be right.

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