The Imposter (2012)

How does a foreign man suddenly end up a U.S. citizen, welcomed into the family of a long- missing child? While it’s impossible to fully understand the grief of those keeping vigil by the window, waiting for a phone call that may never come, it is curious that every expert agrees there are many loose ends. Is it merely that hindsight is 20/20 (as the old saying goes) or is there a more sinister explanation? Though the testimony of an identity thief certainly isn’t everything, it seems to corroborate the suspicion of at least one specialist…

Masterfully crafted, the details of this publicly documented incident are recounted chronologically by a rotation of several family members, some government employees, a smattering of friends/ neighbors and one relentless private investigator. During the lengthier portions of each person’s story, voiceover serves as narration for actors’ portrayals of the events being described. By the end of the film you have about as much information as everyone involved to decide for yourself what you think happened.

Masquerade (2012)

Why are 15 days worth of records missing from annals of the Joseon Dynasty? Though we’ll never know for sure, it’s fair to surmise that since the king was kind but cautious (some would say paranoid), it’s not impossible that arrangements were made in anticipation of a potential emergency. Like the switcheroo in American movie, […]

Wag the Dog (1997)

Who’s leading whom– isn’t the dog supposed to wag the tail? Of greatest importance is at whatever a politician is trying to distract you from looking. Incidentally, one time several major Hollywood stars (2 of whom– Oscars winners, no less– received no money up front) shot a feature length film in under a month with […]

Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)

Escaping an abuser, particularly one who obsessively aligns the labels on the canned goods and the stripes on the bath towels is nearly impossible; their attention to detail adds additional danger.¬†With just as much precision, this movie foreshadows and metaphorically parallels one woman’s journey towards escape. Like the psychological impact of Hitchcock’s unsettling imagery, this […]

Hanna (2011)

CIA operatives have seen and experienced more disturbing things than we could ever know. Even the most patriotic has a limit to what he’s willing to support. Usually, I like a bit of mystery because it’s enthralling to let the details unfold. But in this case it was hard to know who to trust so […]

Grace is Gone (2007)

When military personnel are assigned to a far-away tour, the loved ones left behind know there’s a chance they might not return. But awareness of the hypothetical doesn’t prepare anyone for reality. How do you tell your daughters their beloved mother is never coming home? How do you accept it yourself?

Love Liza (2002)

Loss itself is not enigmatic. What’s most frustrating is the visceral: the how and the why. Even when the cause of death is known it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact way in which someone came into your life and how they managed to touch you as uniquely as they did. Often the bereaved is left […]

Rope (1948)

Everyone is at least familiar with Alfred Hitchcock, especially iconic classics, such as Psycho and The Birds. But for some reason his adaptation of a stage play that’s right up his alley tends to get overlooked. Obviously, there’s dramatic tension in a slashing knife, a flock of pecking birds, or any other bloody spectacle. But […]

Persepolis (2007)

I’m so glad the author of the autobiographical comic– the basis of this movie– was involved in making this version of her story. An Iranian expat, who came- of- age during the Islamic Revolution/ reign of the Shah describes her historical experiences– personal, cultural and political– in black and white. The bold stylistic choice serves […]