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40 Shades of Blue

by Katie Rowlett

Ira Sachs, co-writer and director of Forty Shades of Blue, accomplishes authentic realism with real style. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year, screened at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta recently.

In Forty Shades of Blue, Laura (Dina Korzun) is a young Russian woman living with Alan (Rip Torn), a legend in the Memphis music industry. Laura endures the music industry’s racy lifestyle and Alan’s oblivious, neglectful ways while caring for their three-year-old son, and is thus alienated from all around her. When Alan’s son, Michael (Darren E. Burrows), comes home to visit, he and Laura soon begin an affair that’s unrewarding and sloppy. What follows is a series of desperate attempts for Laura to feel necessary, and we can almost touch the realistic texture when Laura discovers that whatever is missing, is still out of reach.

A notable scene with Alan and Laura lying in bed is close to realistic perfection, combining Grade A performances, bold camera framing, and genuinely raw dialog. Sachs understands that along with dialog, the subtext and its truthful communication are crucial to achieving realism. Korzun’s performance is striking and, although she’s silent through most of the film, there is an immediate and undeniable attraction to her demeanor. She is chillingly truthful in her subtle executions of a wide range of emotions.

Although Forty Shades of Blue is full of tension and anxieties, focusing on themes such as alienation and endurance, the film still has some good laughs and even a sense of contentment. The characters grow with their experiences but, as in real life, they are still the same people in the end.

 

www.fortyshadesmovie.com

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