Archive for January 22nd, 2010

22
Jan
10

Downloading Nancy: Review

vlcsnap-2010-01-22-00h50m37s8 Maria Bello has one of those familiar faces.  If you saw her at an airport, you might stop her and say, “I know you from some television show or some movie, but I can’t quite place where.”  I’ve seen her in roles here and there – looking at her filmography, I’ve seen her in Payback, Thank You for Smoking and a few other roles, but admittedly none of them were particularly notable.  When it comes to Downloading Nancy, there’s no mistaking the fact if she didn’t have a signature film, she does now.  Despite a great all around cast, this is her film.

Bello is undoubtedly among the most attractive leading women in film today.  And while I’m not quite sure exactly what it was that attracted her to this script, one would assume that she must have felt the need to make a statement.  This is one of the most visceral, difficult-to-watch-yet-hard-to-turn-away-from while at the same time thought provoking and challenging films I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  Gone from Bello is the beautiful smile and naturally attractive features and replacing them are all the physical signs of a person who has no regard for her appearance and appears to be unashamed in her quest to do harm to her body.

To say that Downloading Nancy follows the life of a woman during “a difficult period in her life” would be a gross understatement.  The title character has been married to her husband Albert (Rufus Sewell) for fifteen years.  The director craftily provides glimpses into the past revealing how the marriage reached this point and we witness some of the worst evidence of neglect.  I’ve always listened to abused women on television declare that “he hits me because he cares about me”.  While I’m no closer to believing the validity of that statement and that mindset now than I was an hour and a half ago, I must admit that I understand a bit more the spirit of a person making that statement.  Albert barely acknowledges that his wife is even in the same room with him.  In on scene, he gets up from the dinner table and walks all the way around the table to get the salt and pepper shakers – a trip that could have easily been saved by simply asking his wife to secure them.  Rufus Sewell usually fits comfortably in the role of the villain in films and that baggage works to his favor here.  It’s painful to watch the neglect that he shows his wife.

There’s no other way to say it – Nancy likes to hurt herself.  She carries a box of razor blades around.  She takes advantage of almost any opportunity when she’s alone to inflict pain upon herself.  This extends beyond self-infliction and we learn that she connects with others online, sharing what she can’t share with her husband.  I have a pretty strong stomach for on screen violence or graphic content and I have to admit that the mere suggestion of what Nancy is doing – whether I can see where her hands are going or not – made me immensely uncomfortable.  This film is to our era what Star 80 was to it’s day.

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