Opening 19 Jun 2008
Tilda Swinton, Oscar winner for best supporting actress in Michael Clayton, is the star of this devastating film about an alcoholic, out of control and out of her mind. In fact, Swinton is not just the star – she is the entire film. She is in every frame, and if she wasn’t such a superb actress, you’d leave long before the credits roll. But she manages to hold you spellbound as she ricochets from one impossible situation to another, lying so convincingly to the people who get in her way, that the only explanation is that she believes it all herself.
Julia kidnaps an eight-year-old boy and runs one scam after the other in her attempt to collect the ransom. Along the way, she commits murder, causes mayhem and madness and sails on, guzzling vodka, into the next perfect storm, impervious to what is happening on the way. It is one of the most unnerving, rawly honest performances I’ve seen in years and if it wasn’t twenty minutes too long, I’d have to give it five stars. But the whole film just becomes too much to bear and the script, long on drama, is lacking any breath-catching levity. The director, Erik Zonica, hands the film to his star and just gets out of the way of the fireworks. It will leave you shaken and swearing off the drink forever. (Adele Riepe)