Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monster's Ball

Are you looking to forget Quantum of Solace's (which was directed by Marc Forster) lack of lustre? Then this film must be your choice. On the surface, Monster's Ball might look like a film you'd like to throw in the garbage. However, it's an interesting and, above all, subtle film about love and redemption.

Set in Georgia, the story follows Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), a racist correction officer of a penitentiary. He works with his son Sonny (Heath Ledger) and together, they guard Lawrence Musgrove (Sean Combs) in the Death Row. Leticia (Halle Berry), Lawrence's wife (and eventually widow), is gradually losing her house and has to take care of her son. When Hank and Leticia both lose their own son on their own side, their life will collide, which will lead to a love affair. After all, Leticia works as a waitress at the restaurant where Hank likes to take a bite. Besides, when Leticia's son was hit by a car, it was Hank who brought Leticia at the hospital. Will Hank manage to overcome his racist prejudice?

Honestly, it may take while for the film's impact to actually reach you. In fact, if no analysis is made, Monster's Ball looks like a slow and boring film. Add to that the dialogues which seem as interesting as hearing someone asks another person to give him/her a bottle of salt during a supper. However, director Marc Forster directs this film in such a brilliant way. As a result of that, the film leaves us to realize that Monster's Ball, behind its false veneer of insipidity, hides many layers of subtlety through its premise.

In fact, with the accurate performance from the cast, we get to follow a leading character (Hank) who reconsiders his complex racial bias. Obviously, Thornton portrays a character who does that being torn between his father who fondly recalls a historical period that is better left behind and his son who embraces racial tolerance. Besides, things in the story get even more interesting when the characters of Hank and Leticia become more and more connected since we get to see how Hank starts to gradually recognizes that love has no colour.

Finally, story-wise, one can forget Monter's Ball for being a little bit predictable since we know that the bond between Leticia and Hank will not necessarily be smooth in the third quarter of the film. However, thanks to the brilliant (and subtle) exploitation of the premise and the accurate performance from the cast (especially from Halle Berry), Monter's Ball will be easy to watch provided that you're patient.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:USA (2001)
Length:112 minutes
Screenplay:Milo Addica and Will Rokos
Director:Marc Forster
Starring:Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger

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