DRAMA; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Kate Beckinsale, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce
Shelter from the storm: Fanning
An horrific shooting in a Californian diner — referenced repeatedly in repellent flashbacks — rocks the world of everyone present. Carla (Beckinsale) is the waitress. Anne (Fanning), her friend Jimmy (Josh Hutcherson) and her father (Tim Guinee) are sharing a table. Charlie (Forest Whitaker) is alone at the counter. Dr Bruce Laraby (Pearce) ducks in just before for a takeaway coffee and later attempts to treat the victims, for whom nothing is the way it was.
Everyone reacts with depressing extremism. Anne, God help us, finds religion. Charlie, a problem gambler who also has cancer, as if things weren’t bad enough, hits the tables and the skids. Jimmy refuses to speak, which is probably just as well. Carla neglects her perpetually screaming baby, and feeling professionally inadequate, Dr Laraby decides to poison his wife (Embeth Davidtz) in order to save her. Welcome to the Suffering Olympics.
The excellent cast delivers with pained gusto under the revelling-in-it direction of Rowan Woods (Little Fish), but their textbook downslide adds up to an overbearing dirge.