Film review

Personal Velocity

OPENS MARCH 28, CERT 15, 90 MINS

Rebecca Miller probably loathes being described as "Arthur Miller's daughter and Daniel Day-Lewis' wife":her fine second film as writer/director, based on her own short stories, should ensure we stop being so patriarchal. A big winner at Sundance, it at first shapes up to be man-hating, but soon progresses to an intellectually superior plane of all-round people-hating.

Its three tales (inventively shot on DV) are melancholy and Carver-esque, coaxing some agile acting. Kyra Sedgwick plays a glum, battered wife who reclaims her identity through a trashy waitressing job and trashier affair. Parker Posey, sublimely funny and mean, is an ambitious publishing high-flyer who cheats on her too-nice husband, while in the trippier, fuzzier third segment, an alienated Fairuza Balk, after a near-death experience, learns to be trusting but not too trusting.

The Posey fable is far and away the best, as her lovable/loathsome shark with an underbelly experiences "a toxic blend of anxiety and elation". Despite an intrusive, self-consciously 'literary' voiceover, and some naïve trickery (stills, slo-mo), the balance of indie itchiness and grand gravitas gels as the film slinks along. Perceptive and resonant.

Rating: 4 / 10


Newsletter


Editor's Letter

The 43rd Uncut Playlist Of 2014


Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original...