Shipping News

It's women that's shaped like leaves, and men fall.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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I didn't know what to expect from Shipping News. A couple of people I trust said to give it a watch, and now I trust them even more. Shipping News is a very solid film, although a bit gray. It is proof that Kevin Spacy is a hell of a good actor. While a lot of the material is a little disturbing, it is one I'd recommend to anyone who can stomach a little human misery and character flaws.

In one weekend I was able to screen four Kevin Spacy movies including John Cusak. It is proof that he can play a truly flawed character, a character who seems to be missing the essence of his being. He doesn't come out a hero, or even much better off than he is in the beginning, but he does come out.

The story of Shipping News moves at a lightning pace, apparently trying to quickly summarize half a book in Opera's Book Club. Judi Dench are no less powerful in their more subtle roles, giving a flavor to the rest of the story that leaves no gap. The story movies along without so much as a bump in the telling.

The DVD of Shipping News is excellent. There is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that properly hides itself from the telling of the story. The 16x9 enhanced 2.35 to 1 picture gives a great level of detail without losing the fog of our hero's life. There is a directors commentary included on the DVD as well as one or two making-of features. If you are a huge fan, it would not be a bad DVD to own but for most of us it's a very solid rental.

Shipping News is a story about people misshaped by horrifying environments. It is a story of how good people can still come from black backgrounds. The Newfoundland backdrop gives quite a bit of flavor and all of the characters do excellent jobs blending into the rest of the picture. I highly recommend it.