Saturday, August 3, 2013

To Die For

A beautiful, highly ambitious, and totally unscrupulous TV weatherwoman (Nicole Kidman) finds her career in standstill in small-town New Hampshire, which she largely attributes to her oafish lout of husband (Matt Dillon). When she begins work on a documentary project involving susceptible and unintelligible teenage boys at the local high school, she may have found a way to eradicate her pesky husband and thus obtain her ticket to stardom. From the true life crime novel by Joyce Maynard, To Die For is a salacious and compelling satirical film from Gus Van Sant and screenwriter Buck Henry which features a whirlwind performance from Nicole Kidman. The film is told in a mockumentary style which, possibly due to the genre's overuse today, comes off as trite at first before the true weight of the film is gradually revealed. In support to Kidman, there are several fine performances including Dillon, Ileanna Douglass as his suspecting sister, Wayne Knight as the station manager, and a very young Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix as the dupes to her grand criminal scheme.