Film4: PREMIERE Monday 6 July, 1.30am
On the way back from a friend’s poolside party, Radha Mitchell sees, or perhaps imagines, a black hearse fast approaching on the other side of the road. It is not the first indication that something is not quite right with Mitchell’s seemingly content life: happily married, heavily pregnant, a gleaming kitchen filled with baby food, everything is perfect. But she seems nervous and anxious, and she disintegrates after losing her baby to sudden infant death syndrome at the hospital. It doesn’t help that her mother is so distant, nor that her so-called friends turn out to be worse than useless. Brooding, cruel drama from Monster’s Ball director Marc Forster, using digital video in a highly stylised manner to convey Mitchell’s heightened sense of unreality in a sunny suburban environment. The way in which Forster details a vulnerable woman’s gradual detachment from the dreamy banalities of her life brings Roman Polanski’s Repulsion to mind, although the two films could not look more different. It’s closer in spirit to Todd Haynes’ Safe. The use of sound throughout is eerie and unsettling, while the ethereal carnival-like music is simply spooky. Forster has completed eight features (notably Quantum of Solace and World War Z) since this picture, which was unseen in the UK until 2002 and is now rewarded with a long-delayed Film4 first play in a graveyard slot.