Savage Grace Tom Kalin

Savage Grace Tom Kalin
There’s nothing really wrong with Savage Grace but there’s definitely nothing right about it either. Tom Kalin’s latest film takes a look at the true story of the absurdly wealthy Baekeland household and the decadent lives its members led. From dinner parties with princes to gritty liaisons in hotel rooms, it navigates us through the choppy intervals of life on the edge of insanity. Barbara (Julianne Moore) is histrionic and prone to depression, while her husband Brooks (Stephen Dillane) is emotionally absent. Their son Tony (Eddie Redmayne) falls somewhere in the middle of their unhealthy relationship. As we watch the characters evolve throughout the movie, it becomes apparent that sexual deviance seems to be the only thing that rescues this family from boredom, and Savage Grace flaunts that in abundance. As sexual taboos are repeatedly challenged, the characters sink deeper into depression and perverse relationships. Particularly strong performances from Moore and Redmayne render the psychotic mother/son duo all the more compelling. Given that it deals with incest, matricide and a whole host of controversial topics, Savage Grace plays out like a Greek tragedy without the chorus. It’s a decidedly disturbing movie that will make you cringe more than once. But the danger in dealing with so many taboos in a film is that it tends to take focus away from the characters and their development. The film lacks a sense of flow and continuity, jumping from one horrifying psycho-erotic scene to the next, building tension but never character. The DVD features are lacking in the depth that Savage Grace deserves and consist only of a quick "Behind the Scenes” and "Back Story” mini-feature, highlighting relevant parts of the production and direction of the film. Some interview clips with Kalin and the cast are pertinent but offer very little insight into the ideas behind this well thought-out film. (Maximum)