Morvern Callar Reviews
Featuring one of my favorite soundtracks in cinema, Morvern Callar (I love that name) offers a refreshing take on what can be seen as a personal adventure of self-discovery, and about not rejecting unexpected opportunities regardless of where they were originated from, because all experiences can lead to personal growth, as long as you give those experiences such permission.
This feels more like a debut, and precisely, this was intended to be Ramsay's first project, but directed and completed Ratcatcher (1999) before she could get additional funds for this offbeat project. It is a wonderful movie that has Samantha Morton's best performance considering her complex character.
The darkly absurd early image of Christmas tree lights flickering on a still corpse gives us a certain clue as to what kind of movie this will be. It's a devastating opening that succeeds in grabbing the viewer's attention. But what keeps us interested is the peculiar way in which Movern goes about dealing with the death of her boyfriend. You may find yourself shocked not only by the audacity, but more so by the coldness of Morvern's actions. Why does she put her own name on that manuscript? Morvern certainly has no interest in the romance of being an artist. Her reasons for doing such a thing are purely mercenary. Her actions also provoke interesting questions about the nature of her relationship to this man.
This is quite a strange movie about a rather strange woman with a very strange name. Samantha Morton gives an incredible performance, perfectly conveying the enigma that is Morvern Caller. She says little but has a menacing air about her. We don't know what mental activity goes on behind her big eyes and it's unsettling to guess at. At times, as in the beginning of the movie, she seems completely vulnerable and terrified of what the future holds in store for her. More often she appears spookily detached and supremely indifferent to the world around her. She is completely inexplicable and contradictory, and that is what makes her such a fascinating character to observe. It doesn't surprise me that Woody Allen chose Samantha Morton to portray a mute lady in Sweet and Lowdown, as I can't think of any other performer who can express so much without uttering a single word. This is the perfect role to display her talents and it's as good a performance I've ever seen from any actor or actress in recent years.
This is the second movie of Lynne Ramsey, who later went on to direct the acclaimed We Need to Talk about Kevin. She's a very talented director and here she successfully creates an atmosphere of dread and foreboding. She also manages to capture a general feeling of nausea, postponement and depression, particular in the early scenes. She has a strong visual flair and an eye for stark, grotesque imagery. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work.