Starring Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Josh Lucas, Jacob Lofland, Chloë Sevigny
Perhaps the film Mud (2012) had a bigger influence and impact on filmmakers than it did viewers. David Gordon Green’s latest, Joe, and now Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents both seem to grow from the same fertilizer that Mud derived from. Jacob Lofland, who played “Neckbone” in Mud, gets typecast in his second feature but is given a much bigger role to work with. I must say it’s encouraging to see overexposed comedian Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) return to a drama, not to mention an independent film as well as Josh Lucas (A Beautiful Mind). Besides the good performance, especially from Holbrook (Out of the Furnace), the direction of the film seems misguided; the point of view keeps changing and it begins to suffer from a real lack of tight editing.
Following the death of 10 miners with only one survivor, a local mining community prepares for a serious investigation into the events and decisions leading up to the accident that could close the profitable company for good. Amos Jenkins (Holbrook) is the lone survivor and now struggles to learn how to function with limited motor skills on one side of his body. His testimony in the investigation will likely sway the decision and where the criminal charges will fall. Diane Doyle (Banks) continues to feel disconnected from her husband (Lucas) as he faces criminal charges for the neglect in safety of the miners as well as hunting for her 15 year old son who has gone missing.
There is a big difference between a film that takes it’s time to reveal itself slowly and one which moves slowly because it’s dragging things out to hit a certain running time.
There is a lot of interesting irony in the script that plays over the three major characters. They are all connected in ways that are damaging to their character. The fact that we have so much drama going on in one film does at times make it feel like a soap opera act. Bank’s character is a tough one, as she mourns during the disappearance of her son, begins sleeping with Amos, and is barely holding her marriage together while interacting with Owen, the 11 year old who knows exactly what happened to her son and where he is. Bank’s should be at the center of the film with that much on her plate, but the screen time is split and I never felt any of the characters really get the time they deserve.
Colangelo understands the value of implementing a story like this into the setting and she does that with careful cinematography and filming at certain times of the day when the light and weather cast a particular mood. However, there is a big difference between a film that takes it’s time to reveal itself slowly and one which moves slowly because it’s dragging things out to hit a certain running time. There are so many intermingling themes that do not get the right amount of attention. I wanted to like this movie, especially with such noteworthy performances, but the film as a whole doesn’t do the characters or the actors justice.
The film lacks focus and concentration on one character or subject matter to deliver the emotion it deserves.