Monday, February 14, 2011

Rabbit Hole (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
Rabbit Hole

When the camera opens on "Rabbit Hole",  the main character Becca (Nicole Kidman)  fusses with her garden. She seems like a grown up and anxious Alice- in- Wonderland, frantically plugging holes left by the White Rabbit. 
She is often fretting in her garden, as it is a refuge in grief from the loss of her son who died in a car accident. It has been eight months since his death. She is highstrung and manic while her automaton neighbors invite her out to dinner. Becca invariably declines.
The husband Howie (Aaron Eckhart) spends hours staring into the static of his computer screen or watching videos of his lost son on his iPhone. Howie's face is a mask of Status Quo as he moves soldier-like from one appointment to the next. As a couple they barely have any alone time. They go through the motions of joining a child loss support group, yet the members  are devoid of personality. Becca upsets the group by refusing to think of a dead child as God's "little angel". She detests religion. She withdraws more and more going so far as removing her son's clothes and drawings, driven to move on.
Her mother (Dianne Wiest) wears a crucifix and is a staunch believer. There is a touch of Minnie Castevet about her. Cloying sweet with a serrated edge. 
Indeed, around the upscale house everything is forced perfection: The dinners, the squash games, the picnics. Polanski can almost be seen smirking behind the newly painted off-white door.
Becca begins to wander like Alice herself. She becomes obsessed with the teenaged Jason (Miles Teller) who drove the car that tragically killed her son. Becca follows Jason  on the bus and along library aisles. She is surrounded and shut- in by reminders of toddlers and childbirth. The apprehension is as gripping as any De Palma film or Hitchcockian fugue. And during a botched open house, the dead son's room matches the haunt and mystery of "The Sixth Sense" even without the sight of spirits.
"Rabbit Hole" is based on the play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by John Cameron Mitchell who is known for pushing buttons ever since Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (2001). 
Never has domestic trauma seemed so melancholy or so sustained by quantum mechanics or the hyper-driving influence of Edward Albee.
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