Saturday, September 23, 2006

"A very fine movie"

Is the verdict of the Leicester Mercury on Alpha Male.

Dan Wilde's tale of love and loss, set in a very nice house indeed.

The melancholy Alpha Male is a beautifully understated directorial debut from Daniel Wilde, who also wrote the subdued but succinct screenplay.

It's a poignant story about family life. Rich family life, that is: The characters who people Wilde's elegant movie have a house that makes your place look like a shed. And yet the underlying themes will have a resonance for anyone who's seen death or divorce reshape their family.

The film flits forward and backward in time like a restless butterfly.

Danny Huston plays Jim, the alpha male of the title. He's warm, charismatic, ambitious and successful, and soon dead, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of his wife Alice (Jennifer Ehle) and his children, Jack and Elyssa.

Jack (played by Arthur Duncan as a kid, and Mark Wells as a grown-up) becomes the man of the house, and takes his new role seriously. The sensitive Elyssa (Katie Ann Knight then Amelia Warner), meanwhile, becomes increasingly withdrawn, save for eruptions of anger at her aunt Brede (Trudie Styler), who she once saw make a play for her dad.

The cast is very strong, but Huston isn't in it long enough. Alpha Male is a very fine movie.

Oops, we haven't been keeping an eye on Press 53. Looks like the On the Same Page event honouring John Ehle was quite a success. Some photos up at Sheryl Monk's page. Mr Ehle also attended the 25th Appalachian Literary Festival at Emory & Henry College, according to the Times Dispatch, as well as the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, says the Asheville Citizen-Times. There's a report at Press 53 too.

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