The unshakeable curse of survivor's guilt taints the grown-up life of college massacre escapee Diana (Uma Thurman) despite apparently enjoying a picture-book existence with her loving husband and devoted daughter in suburban Connecticut. Evan Rachel Wood plays the younger Diana on the fateful day when a gunman ran riot. Director Vadim Perelman fashions a richly-stylised story of sunny adolescent aspiration torn apart by brutal circumstance.
Evan Rachel Wood
Wild child Diana (Rachel Wood) and her demure buddy Maureen (Amurri, daughter of Susan Sarandon) are critically in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They're holed up in the college washroom while a nutjob armed with an automatic lays waste to fifteen of their schoolmates in a Columbine-style shooting.
Arriving at their bolt-hole, he levels the smoking gun at the terrified girls and asks which of them shall it be?
Fifteen years on, that pivotal event unsurprisingly colours Diana's every day, even though she's now a successful art teacher married to a rugged philosophy lecturer and has a bright daughter.
Director Vadim Perelman switches from the matter-of-fact style of his solid debut House of Sand and Fog to tell his story with a non-linear narrative, punctuated by super-stylised flights of fancy and head-spinning flashbacks.
Swarming with artfully composed shots where the camera languidly tracks across a dishevelled bedroom or lingers on red ants swarming over a dead bird, the dream-like quality is an acquired taste.
The acting is more straightforward, with Rachel Wood particularly impressive as the thrill-seeking teen egging on her church-going pal, the equally good Amurri, as they cavort in neighbour's pools and obsess about boys.
Thurman has the rather more difficult task of conveying the brittle, grown-up Diana - now careworn as opposed to carefree - and her concerns that her spirited nipper is following in her adolescent footsteps.
A heady melodramatic mix.