Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley Sizzle
Brutal murders took place on Smuttynose Island among the Isles of Shoals in 1873. As our story begins, writer Sean Penn and his photographer wife are boating there to investigate the ancient crimes. The dialogue notes that "writers and photographers are just trying to stop time."
While this big-hearted film weeps for a multitude of human sufferings, it also reveals that sometimes the right people get executed, even if for the wrong crimes. As an unsentimental good-old-boy from Mississippi once told me, "Some folks just need killin!" Of course, that's only if you consider adultery, incest, and rape to be really bad stuff not really hot stuff. (Sophisticated French libertines may consider this movie a swinging romance.)
The ending is a classic example of a director's perfect moral storm. I'm talking about so much evil swirling around in the air that everyone feels depressed and traumatized, but noone is severely culpable. Maybe, too much such free-floating guilt and too little personal responsibility is part of what produces so many true dead men walking.