In the Bedroom

Bomb Rating: 


Why title this film "In the Bedroom"? The title has no particular relevance to the film, which is about the ebb and flow of morality. (Many people incorrectly believe morality to be static, but these are mostly the morons who attend religious services to get their morality pre-packaged from the big imaginary patriarch in the sky.) Sure, several conversations -- important ones -- occur between Dr. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife Ruth (Sissy Spacek) in their bedroom, but they could have easily occurred in the kitchen or a closet or while the two had their feet in the same bucket. Christ, I bet they could have had the conversations through Dixie cups attached by strings.

Ironically, the film's most tense moment occurs in the kitchen and moves to the living room. Perhaps director Todd Field should have called the film "In the Kitchen" or "While We Walk from the Kitchen to the Living Room". Personally, I think he wanted to imply there was going to be some freaky hot monkey sex in this film and suckered me with the title. I figured I'd be seeing a film with Marisa Tomei running around buck nekkid. No such luck.

Marisa plays Natalie Strout, who's separated from her abusive husband, Richard (William Mapother), and dating the Fowlers' young son, Frank (Nick Stahl). Any person with a brain can see trouble coming in this film like a runaway eighteen-wheeler sporting neon vanity license plates that spell "TRUBL." Not long into the film, Richard finds Frank and Natalie together and shoots Frank dead. Though it's obvious to the audience that Richard should be fried into a crispy critter for this brutal murder, it becomes clear that money and lawyering will probably reduce his sentence to manslaughter. Why is this? It's because Richard's family is rich and everybody knows the law is applied differently to the rich. His lawyer actually argues for a spanking while waving a wad of hundred dollar bills around like an Enron executive in the Bush White House.

Field then focuses on the torturous mental life of the Fowlers and their confrontation with the true plutocratic nature of justice, which is just a joy to watch. Hell, who doesn't want to toss back a few Junior Mints while watching a couple suffer emotional agony after the death of their only child? Frankly, I'm just surprised more people weren't trying to kill themselves on their way out of the theater.

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