Rabbit Hole (John Cameron Mitchell, 2010)

05Feb11

Nicole Kidman (Becca), Aaron Eckhart (Howie), Dianne Wiest (Nat). Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Rating: 12A. Running time: 91 minutes.

When you make a film about the disintegration of a relationship and release it before Blue Valentine has even left the cinemas, and Revolutionary Road from a few years back is still firmly in the memory, you should know comparisons will be inevitable. Rabbit Hole, a third high-profile study of a marriage breakdown in the space of as many years, has a different source of tragedy: the loss of a child in a car accident is the driver behind the depression. Whilst still well done, is not as good as its two modern predecessors.  It’s not that it feels less realistic than them, as much as it simply isn’t as interesting. Of course Gosling and Williams had grittier characters to get their teeth into, insofar as they played a couple living a lot less materially well off than Kidman and Eckhart do here. And in a way it’s easy to overlook the quality of the performances because they look and feel so polished – the bourgeois surroundings and smooth lighting distracting from the subtle but strong acting. The same, however, could be said of Winslet and DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road, and yet I’d watch the drama unfold between April and Frank Wheeler at least ten times over before I’d try and catch Rabbit Hole again. Nothing feels wrong as you watch it. Despite little happening, it never drags, and at all times you are quietly impressed with what you see. And yet little, unfortunately, lingers in the mind long after the lights go down. No aspects leave a lasting impression that compel one to revisit Rabbit Hole as soon as possible. I hesitate slightly, but don’t feel too harsh in simply labelling this one as stale. There are many better films out there right now that are worthy of our money and attention.

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