Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Ice Storm

Movie Name: The Ice Storm
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Ang Lee
Stars: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Tobey Maguire, Adam Hann-Byrd, David Krumholtz, Jamey Sheridan, Henry Czerny, Kate Burton, Katie Holmes
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Following the success of "Sense and Sensibility", Ang Lee returned with another critical success, adapting Rick Moody's novel "The Ice Storm" (which won the best screenplay award at the Cannes film festival). The film takes place in Connecticut in the 1970s, focusing on two groups of people, the Hood and Carver families. The adults are going through the motions of life, also experimenting with drugs, drinking too much, and involved in adultery. The kids are coming into their own personalities, going through adolescence, trying to find their own path. The relationships between these two families comes to a halt during a particular severe ice storm.
Ang Lee has created a successful career as a director which primes for its eclectic choice of material (he's also directed "Hulk" and also "Wedding Banquet", to name but a few). He successfully creates and depicts universes where families and their relationship dynamics are the main focus of attention, with these families existing in different contexts (New York in the 90s for "The Wedding Banquet", the English countryside of the 19th century for "Sense and Sensibility" and Woodstock in the 60s for "Taking Woodstock", to name but a few). These relationships and the quality of performances the director always manage to bring from his actors, makes his films indelible experiences. That is particular the case for "The Ice Storm", which captures the suburbia of middle class America in the 70s. The couples were all wanting to explore beyond their routines, the sexual revolution was the topic of discussion, and trying drugs was just a novelty at their parties. The film goes beyond this and explores the part of growing up, and how the kids from these somewhat disjointed families are coming into their own. Ang Lee also captures perfectly the sadness and melancholy bellying some of these characters, particularly Janey Carver's who comes across as someone profoundly unhappy in her life. The film features a great cast, with fantastic performances from Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Christina Ricci and Tobey Maguire. The cinematography from Frederick Elmes (who also shot the classic David Lynch film "Blue Velvet") and the score from Mychael Danna are equally fantastic. A great film from a fantastic director.