I loathe this movie. I haven't liked any films directed by Stephen Daldry.
So on my old star system, I gave this film a 1.5/4 Stars. Turns out, my letter system translated to a "D+". Since the nominations were announced, I've started to like this movie less and less. Before, I liked von Sydow, and Bullock. Now, I feel Sydow was used as at gimmick. His silence in the book was sufficiently explained, and was beautifully somber. The movie leaves 'The Renter' as a nameless man who can't speak for himself, for what reason? Why? Eric Roth leaves these questions unanswered for the worst. In the book, 'The Renter' was stated as Thomas Schell, Sr., a human bond to his dead son. The movie makes him as a kid's sidekick? Do I care if A kid looking for a key has Sydow sidekick? NO!
If I was mean, I would say the best scene was the end credits. No, the end credits were bad too. The only sequence that was actually sad, or somber, was when Jeffrey Wright sat on a sun-lit bench. He, looking for a key, is just waiting. He wants to do his father justice. The sun panning on his skin... oh such a painful scene. For reasons explained, this is also the Best Scene in a bad movie like this one.
I don't like von Sydow's character. He can't speak from an unexplained tragedy from an emotional level. I blame the character on the film's writing, a flawed adaptation of the book. But, I give this to Max von Sydow, who put his all in a character that was crummier than a dusty cookie. His performance could be elevated on an emotional standpoint if the character was better explained, or the film had a better script.
Look out tomorrow as I explain The Help.