Hollywood has finally gotten hip to Susanne Bier: two of her powerful Danish dramas, Brothers (2004) and Open Hearts (2002), are slated for U.S. remakes, and Bier herself came over to direct this incisive story of a death in the family. After a good-hearted husband and father (David Duchovny) is randomly murdered, his traumatized wife (Halle Berry) offers room and board to his old childhood friend (Benicio Del Toro), a pathetic junkie shocked into recovery by the crime. Allan Loeb wrote the screenplay, though one can easily see why it attracted Bier; like her own writing, it explores the irrational impulses, emotional substitutions, and misdirected rage that often follow great loss. Bier is one of the cinema's most acute observers of intimate relations, her Scandinavian reserve muting the inherent melodrama of her material, and she draws piercing, modestly scaled performances from Duchovny, Del Toro, Alison Lohman, and John Carroll Lynch. R, 113 min.
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