© Tobis Film GmbH & Co. KG

Ein Einziger Augenblick (Reservation Road)
U.S.A./Germany 2007

Opening 19 Jun 2008

Directed by: Terry George
Writing credits: John Burnham Schwartz, Terry George
Principal actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Elle Fanning, Jennifer Connelly, Sean Curley, Samuel Ryan Finn

Two fathers interact under terribly sad circumstances. Ethan (Joaquin Phoenix), his wife Grace, son Josh, and daughter Emma drive into a restaurant on the way home from a concert. Josh, bless his heart, jumps out of the car and runs to the side of the road to open a jar of butterflies he has captured so that they can fly free. Dwight (Mark Ruffalo) and his son Lucas are also on the road after watching the Red Sox play baseball. In an instance of inattention Dwight runs over and kills little Josh, guns the motor and is out of there without being recognized. From then the film goes into discussions with the police, the search for the hit-and-run driver, feelings of guilt and self-blame, responsibility of divorced parents (Dwight’s wife Ruth, played by Mira Sarvino, has remarried), inner pain, philosophy of death, self-help groups on the internet, and taking the law into your own hands. This alternates between predictability and unbelievable melodrama. Finally, the film makes a blip towards finally becoming really interesting, when Ethan hires Dwight as his lawyer to find the culprit and little Emma starts taking piano lessons from Ruth. The two families begin to interact without knowing that they are already intertwined. But it’s only a blip, and the ending is tearful and once again predictable. I kept saying, “Go ahead and shoot him. Pull the trigger,” but he doesn’t. It’s hard to believe that this un-original film is by Terry George, who gave us that wonderful Hotel Rwanda and was nominated for several Oscars. (Becky Tan)

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