The Life Before Her Eyes
The spectre of Columbine-style school shootings is something most filmmakers have understandably shied away from on grounds of taste, with the exception of Gus van Sant’s laudably matter-of-fact Elephant. Following on from his House of Sand and Fog, director Vadim Perelman’s adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel approaches its target warily, using a complex non-linear structure which snakes back and forward from a central scene in which a group of girls are trapped in a school toilet while the killer advances towards them. While one set of flashbacks explores the life of high schooler Diana McFee (Evan Rachel Wood) and her relationship with fellow captive Maureen (Eva Amurri), a separate set of flash-forwards reveal the grown-up Diana (Uma Thurman) experiencing ripples of disturbance twenty years after her actions that day. While The Life Before Her Eyes is imaginatively constructed and does provide a fairly absorbing watch, the manipulative plotlines in screenwriter Emil Stern’s script only obscure the true nature of the tragedy.
General release from Fri 27 Mar.