[image-4]Published October 16, 2008.
Savage Grace
Directed by: Directed by Tom Kalin
(IFC Films)
Reviewing this movie is an exercise in saying "unsettling" in numerous ways. If anything that happens in Savage Grace is accurate, then the tone of the film---at once dream-like and off-putting---is more about being true to the characters than making the audience feel comfortable watching them. Inspired by the real Baekeland family---they're astronomically wealthy from the previous generation's invention of commercial plastics but are still emotional strangers to each other---Savage Grace (based on the eponymous book) manages to pull disparate and jarring elements together into a complete, off-kilter whole. Stars Julianne Moore and Stephen Dillane create zero chemistry with their performances as Barbara and Brooks Baekeland, making their scenes together tinged with malice and their breakup inevitable. Much more compelling is Moore with Eddie Redmayne, who plays her son Tony---both create a scary portrayal of co-dependence. There is an insistent musical score that is often deployed over moments that could speak for themselves, but amplifies others with a thick sense of unease. The DVD comes with a couple of self-congratulatory featurettes, but nothing on the real-life Baekelands, unfortunately.
Hillary Titley

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