It made me think of Deliverance, of Chinatown, of Bonnie and Clyde – of the very best American crime stories. And yet, who has ever heard of it? Another minor masterpiece that has slipped off the radar or never appeared on it. And yet everything about it is perfect – the cinematography, the story (a woman who writes to a convicted murderer in prison and believes she loves him, but is secretly loved by someone else), the script, the acting – everything. It has a truly star cast – Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective), Nicole Kidman – not her first role as a Southern slut – Zac Efron and John Cusack.
In my part-time mission to save neglected masterpieces from oblivion, I have found a new cause. Lee Daniels, the director, is a black American, and I haven’t seen his other movies (The Butler most recently), but I will soon.
So many movies I’ve viewed recently are just dull fodder for dead minds. This one is head and shoulders above them all. Everything about it is convincing and naturalistic. The story of interwoven, cross-cutting and internecine romantic obsessions. Amazing.