Behind closed doors…
Austrian writer/director Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon is a lengthy black and white drama set in a small German town in the austere years before World War I. Yet Haneke’s latest is one of his finest works to date. His strength as a filmmaker has always been to focus on the reactions of ordinary people in extraordinary situations, such as in Cache and Funny Games, and this intense character study of villagers besieged by strange events proves mesmerising from the start.
A dot to dot of every imaginable genre cliché, Brandon Camp’s film aims to mine more meaningful depths than others of its ilk, but ends up falling flat. That’s partly due to the lack of any real chemistry between leads Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, but a clunky narrative – full of contrived situations and leaps in logic – would most likely have dowsed any sparks.
When Burt (Jim Krasinski) and his girlfriend Verona (Maya Rudolph) discover they are expecting their first child, they are shocked but relieved they can rely on Burt’s parents (Catherine O’Hara and Jeff Daniels in scene-stealing cameos) for support. But when the grandparents to be drop the bombshell that they are moving oversees, Burt and Verona have the rug pulled from under them. With her parents dead, and realising that they need to find a stable home for their new child, Burt and Verona head off on a trip around the USA searching for the perfect place to raise a family. And, as they catch up with old friends and family, they begin to realise that home really is where the heart is.