One paragraph reviews on art, movies, books, and pop culture by a know-nothing who knows it all

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Chiaroscuro of "Illuminated"

"Everything Is Illuminated" is a dreamy, semi-surreal tale about a young man unlocking the mystery of his grandfather's escape from the Nazis in Ukraine. The film is worth seeing for director Liev Shreiber's supreme confidence in telling a story that is part fable, part vicious reality, part comedy, and part tragedy. In addition, the film seamlessly shifts between the past and present, giving it that ethereal feeling. The story's most poignant parts are conveyed through images, rather than a barrage of exposition. (What a concept!) Even though Elijah Wood is ostensibly the "star," the show really belongs to Eugene Hutz who plays a Ukrainian tour guide. His character, Alex, goes through the most changes, learning about his family's hidden history and Ukraine's ugly past. For this former expat, the film succeeded in capturing the "real" Ukraine, as well.