Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Viewed: January 26, 2011
Format: Theatrical Print (Landmark Theaters Frontenac Cinema)
B- - Everything that occurs within Rabbit Hole revolves around a personal cataclysm that is only hinted at for the first twenty minutes or so of the film, a stratagem that proves wholly consistent with the work’s interest in the phenomena of emotional evasion and suppression. The young son of polished upper-middle-class strivers Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) perished eight months ago in a car accident, and although their life is not necessarily in tatters, the couple’s unresolved grief crouches in the room, mocking their hollow gestures towards normalcy. John Cameron Mitchell–creator of brash and bratty indie gambits like Hedwig and Angry Inch and Shortbus–isn’t the obvious choice to helm David Lindsay-Abaire’s adaptation of his own play. While Mitchell’s direction is assured and sensitive to the nuances and diversity of human emotion, Rabbit Hole too often feels like a grimly dutiful exploration of a character blueprint, rather than an authentic tale of sorrow. For a story about unthinkable loss, it exhibits a curious lack of poignancy, one that cannot be explained entirely by Becca’s ruthless shuttering of her emotional landscape. It’s a distinguished film, but frigidly so, and rarely distinctive, apart from its embrace of a curious, scientific sort of solace befitting a faithless world.