Pieces Of April


I read a scathing review of this film which seemed above all to be sick and tired of grungy hand held digital camera films. Pieces Of April was made through InDigEnt (Independent Digital Entertainment) which specialises in such films, having previously released the thoroughly entertaining Tape (a film which made no attempt to shy away from its stage origins). I personally have no problem with this type of film. But something about the style (and the absence of the traditional Hollywood spectacle) means that the character development must take precedence over the plot. When I can sympathise with the characters then films such as these work. Personal Velocity didn’t. Pieces Of April did.

Pieces of AprilThere were two reasons why I was always bound to see this film: one is that it has Katie Holmes (a solid performer, and er, pleasing to the eye), and the second is that it had Oliver Platt (a fantastic performer, even though he doesn’t do it for me in the same way Holmes does).

Platt is fantastic as usual, but his role in this film is interesting, mainly because he is about the only straight (serious) person in it. He basically acts as comedic foil for the other actors, and has almost no jokes left for himself. I am certain this is why he chose to do Pieces Of April, probably overjoyed at the prospect of not playing the comic relief (The Three Musketeers, Flatliners, Lake Placid).

The strange thing is that I couldn’t stand Patricia Clarkson’s performance. There was something about it that grated, and it certainly didn’t seem as realistic as the others. It didn’t help that the character pissed me off, and I could never quite understand how she had become such a bitter shit.

Confucious say: be wary of an American film about an estranged family gathering for Thanksgiving. Yes, it is a schmalzy piece of entertainment, but I enjoyed it all the same. Rather shameless in its provocation, rest assured you will be satisfied with thoroughly cheesy resolutions to the problems.

And the movie isn’t about the findings of a coroner, which is a pity.

Rating: 3 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 15th March 2004
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

Shaun of the Dead Thirteen