Event, The (Canada/USA; 110 min.)


directed by: Thom Fitzgerald
starring: Parker Posey; Don McKellar; Brent Carver
The Event
 
Michael says: "'Some films are difficult to review. THE EVENT, the latest film from one of my favorite filmmakers, Thom Fitzgerald (THE HANGING GARDEN, THE WILD DOGS) is one such film. The reason that it is so difficult to review is that on the one hand, the film fails at its attempt to graft a suspense film onto an assisted-suicide drama. On the other hand, there are moments of such exquisite beauty, and clarity, as well as some great performances that so much of what I'm left with after the film is positive.

Parker Posey plays Nick, the Assistant D.A. investigating the recent deaths of several men sufferring with A.I.D.S. who had all been patients at the same clinic, under the care of the same doctor named Brian (Brent Carver). Many critics have complained that Posey is miscast, and unconvincing in the role of Nick. I would say that Nick is poorly written, and in fact, it is the poor writing of Nick's character that makes THE EVENT a far lesser film than it should be. Nick is carrying a secret around that is revealed toward the end of the film. For me, this secret provides the entire motivation for Nick's behavior, and the viewer needs to understand that much earlier in the story. Nick's behavior does not ring true, and only when the secret is revealed do we think, Oh, maybe she's acting the way she is because... It's not something that we should be questioning throughout the film. It takes away from the story.

One of the most recent deaths, is a young cellist named Matt (the always wonderful Don McKellar.) Nick focuses her investigation on Matt's family, friends and, of course, Brian. Little by little she pieces together the events leading up to Matt's death. Olympia Dukakis turns in an outstanding performance as Lila, Matt's mom. What could have been over-the-top and melodramatic, was a finely nuanced and powerfully moving performance. Sarah Polley reinforces her reputation as one of the finest young actors around today with her funny, and touching performance as Matt's sister, Dana. Her scene filming a commercial for a feminine product is one of the funniest, and emotional scenes I've seen this year. The film is filled with other memorable performances, including Glen Michael Grant, busting the stereotype of the drag queen, Jane Leeves ('Frasier'), Brent Carver, and Joanna Adler making Matt's other sister, Gaby real and skirting the potential caricature that character could easily have been.

Shot in digital video, the picture had a nice look. Fitzgerald, whose debut feature, THE HANGING GARDEN, is a visual extravaganza, does some strong work with a more subdued palette. The sound quality, on the other hand, was frustrating. Too much music, too high in the mix, with dialogue buried a little too deeply. Still, considering it featured a couple of my favorite film actors, and directed by a favorite filmmaker, how could I give it anything less than... " 4 cats