Snow Cake
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Gary Jukes (28th October 2007).
The Film

On the way to meet the mother of the son he never knew, Alex Hughes (Alan Rickman, 'Die Hard', 'Harry Potter') picks up a teenage hitch-hiker, Vivienne (Emily Hampshire, 'It's a Boy Girl Thing'). During the journey, the two start to develop a friendship, but after making a brief stop where Vivienne buys a gift for her mother, their car is hit by a truck and Vivienne is killed. Alex decides to visit Vivienne's mother, Linda (Sigourney Weaver, 'Alien', 'The Ice Storm'), to take her the gift, but is shocked by her offhand reaction towards him - she seems more interested in the gift (some toys) than Alex's revelation he was driving the car in which her daughter was killed. Stranded in the small community, Alex reluctantly stays the night. The next day he meets Linda's neighbour Maggie (Carrie-Anne Moss, 'The Matrix', 'Memento'), who explains Linda's strange behaviour when she reveals that Linda is autistic. As independent as Linda is, there are still things she relied on Vivienne to take care of, so Alex agrees to stay for few days and ends up helping to organise the funeral. During this time, he begins a romantic relationship with Maggie, and through this new relationship and his friendship with Linda, Alex is able to come to terms with his guilt over Vivienne's death.


From the summary above, you may think that Snow Cake is a very gloomy film, but it really isn't. It's actually very uplifting with some humorous and touching moments (such as the comic book scrabble scene) mixed in with the sad ones. The script by Angela Pell is well-written, choosing not to focus on the subject of autism but on the relationships between the characters instead, and British director Marc Evans (My Little Eye) also impresses. It's beautifully shot in the real town of Wawa, and the slow pace of the film - which may be off-putting to some - gives a real sense of life in a small town. Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss are both good, but it is Alan Rickman who really shines, giving a great performance, one of the best I've seen him give. The supporting actors including Callum Keith Rennie as the truck driver and Jayne Eastwood as Linda's mother, are also very good. Definitely recommended.

Video

The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer displays good detail and colours in close-up, but some outdoors scenes with shots of the sky are very grainy. There are also optional English or Spanish subtitles.

Audio

The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track has a low volume level, with the focus on the front of the sound stage and minimal activity from the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and the score by Broken Social Scene(a perfect fit for the film) comes across well.

Extras

A Theatrical Trailer (2:01) and 10 Deleted Scenes:

Talk to the Thingy (1:23) Alex and Vivienne order at a drive-through
Bedbugs (1:24): Linda worries about Alex's 'Don't let the bedbugs bite' comment
Everytime I Miss Vivienne (0:49): Linda makes a snowman in her garden
Being the Greeter (1:44): Linda is asked to be the greeter at her supermarket job
Move Away from the Snowmen (2:54): Alex chases off a group of children caught destroying Linda's snowmen
I Need Eyes (1:43): Linda searches for eyes for her snowman
Actually, She's My Wife (3:17): Alex and Linda go to McDonalds
Haircut Day (2:06): Linda tells Alex about haircut day
It's Melting (1:13): Alex and Linda talk about Maggie
Hello Sunshine (0:49): Linda watches water running down the outside of her window

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: B Audio: B Extras: C Overall: B

 


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