Genova (Winterbottom, 2008)

Genova (Michael Winterbottom, 2008)

Genova is the latest film from one of my favorite currently working directors – Michael Winterbottom. The film centers around a man and his two daughters shortly after their wife/mother is killed in a car accident. The film is part grief examination, part ghost story. Winterbottom has shown the ability in the past to make extremely successful genre films, but with Genova, he doesn’t quite commit to the genre, and the last 30 minutes of the film become a mess.

genova

Luckily, the first hour is fantastic. The family deals with their grief realistically, and tries to move on with their lives the best they know how. Winterbottom avoids almost all grief and loss cliches and presents the situation with a lot of tenderness and truth towards his characters. The film is also brilliantly shot, with a lot of dimly lit sets and numerous hand-held closeups. The camera is very much in the characters’ faces, almost voyeur-esque, examining what they are going to do next. Had the film’s last half hour lived up to its first hour, this would have been excellent. As is, it’s still very good, and one of the better films I’ve seen from 2008.  8/10

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