Presidents’ Weekend Marathon 8:Monster’s Ball

Of the films I’ve seen so far during the marathon, Monster’s Ball is my favorite. Remember what I said in the review for Hart’s War? Less is more. Shut up and let the audience think. Marc Forster gets this, and gets it bang-on.

From the opening sequence to the final scene, Monster’s Ball is art. Forster and his cinematographer Roberto Schaefer use the frame in unusual ways that draw the attention of the viewer to bits of color and strips of action. Often occluding most of the frame, these shots look like a gallery walk.

The story itself surprises at many turns by its sheer refusal of cliche. Each time you think you know what will happen next, you’re wrong. Yet this isn’t defiance for its own sake; this is a story with an emotional core that is raw and real and reaches out for your throat. The performances–especially Halle Berry’s–are superb. I’d almost given up on Berry after some of her recent stints. This role makes up for it all, and I’m hoping it earns her an Oscar.

Comments are closed.