In director David Gordon Green’s searing Snow Angels, a tight-knit Pennsylvania community is drawn closer together when tragedy befalls one of their own.
Just to put in an immediate state of alarm, Green opens his film with a pair of ominous gun shots. Then, he flashes back several weeks.
Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale play Glenn and Annie, an estranged couple and parents to 4-year-old daughter Tara.
Glenn and Annie are each trying to pick up the pieces of their broken marriage. He’s a born-again Christian who drinks too much; she’s a waitress who is having an affair with a co-worker’s philandering husband.
They are not good people. To say that they’re flawed is easy – they are each other’s flaw, and each is so consumed by what they feel they need and want, neither realizes the effect their actions have on those around them.
Michael Angarano (a.k.a. Jack’s son on TV’s Will & Grace) plays Arthur, an outsider-ish high school student in the throes of a first romance dealing with his parent’s separation.
If he isn’t careful, Arthur risks making a mess of his life, just like his parents or like Glenn and Annie.
While his father (Who’s That Girl’s Griffin Dunne), who has left his family, struggles to figure out what he wants, his mother warns Arthur not to bottle up his feelings. This after he’s made a tragic discovery…you know, the one that leads to those two gun shots.
Snow Angels, which premiered at the Miami International Film Festival in March, plays like quite a first-rate soap-opera, but it really is a heartbreaking story of good love gone bad…of warning signs.
Snow is beautiful. It blankets everything, providing everyone a clean slate.
But it can be dangerous as well. You have to be careful; it can make everything cold.
Green, the man behind All the Real Girls and Undertow (a film I have yet to rent), directs it in a way that makes the audience feel as though they’re intruding in these people’s lives. The effect is unsettling, but oddly, quite captivating.
Photo: Warner Independent Pictures.