Snow Angels ****
Written and Directed by David Gordon Green, based on the novel by Stewart O'Nan
Rated R for language, some violent content, brief sexuality and drug use.
It's probably a good sign for distribution when there is already a rating set. "Snow Angels" is a minor masterpiece and a certain for one of the year's best, as long as it gets released on time. David Gordon Green tells a interweaving character story, connected all through this small town in Pennsylvania. There is Arthur Parkinson (Michael Angarano), a teenage trombone player whose father(Griffin Dunne) has just left him and his mother alone. He works in a Chinese restaurant with his old babysitter Annie (Kate Beckinsale) and her friend Barbara (Amy Sedaris). Annie has a young daughter Tara, and her husband Glenn (Sam Rockwell, once again showing how talented he is) wishes to be part of their life again. The main focus of the film is the relationship between Annie and Glenn, which is a minor horror story unto its own. Sam Rockwell makes a fearsome Glenn as he is both scary and constantly likable at the same time. You always feel sorry for this pathetic and pitiful man, a former drinker who works at a carpet factory. And Kate Beckinsale's Annie is no organized mother either, as she does not exactly treat Glenn with much respect or care anyway. It must have been hard to cast this film as all of the characters are probably extremely unlikable on paper, but with friendly faces and personalities like Griffin Dunne and Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell it is impossible to hate them. This is an important aspect to consider as this is a hard film to watch and a hard film to choose someone to root for.
And as with all aspects of life, there is comedy as well, which is mainly the story with Arthur and his new found friend and possible love interest Olivia. There is a slight mystery story, considering the sound of gunshots that end the films first scene before propelling us to weeks before. But I found myself walking away from "Snow Angels" extremely impressed. I was impressed with the acting which was perfect and compelling. Beckinsale gives a remarkable performance, and its always a treat to see Sam Rockwell, who barely seems to get any work. I get a treat this year considering he'll be in July's "Joshua." I was impressed with the screenplay which told such a massive story on a grand scale without going overboard with characters like most of these kinds of films usually do. I was impressed with the lack of music, and whenever there was music it was more or less haunting and not a burden. It emphasised a scene of importance, but did not try to get to the heart-the performances do all of that. I was impressed with the final scene, most of all. It seems like a tough scene to have written-it is right after what seems to be the final images, but then this last bit is tacked on. Right when it began I groaned a bit, thinking that they should have ended it before. But this added bit, and you'll see what I mean if you ever happen across this gem, really does add to the frightening aspect, and although this portion of the story is over for a certain set of characters, it has only just begun to another set. "Snow Angels" has distribution from Warner Independent Pictures, and is slated for a 2008 release, but hopefully they will come to their senses and limited release it at the end of this year to get some Oscar attention. It really does deserve it.