SXSW Film Reviews

THE SCOUNDREL'S WIFE

D: Glen Pitre; with Tatum O'Neal, Julian Sands, Tim Curry, Lacey Chabert, Eion Bailey, Patrick McCullough, Rudolf Martin, Lorna Farrar.

Narrative Feature Special Screenings, World Premiere Set along the 1940s Louisiana coast, The Scoundrel's Wife follows the treacherous story of a small fishing community caught up in the sudden politics of war, religion, and the most treasonable acts of humanity. As German U-boats fire into once friendly waters, sinking American tankers and crewmen, a single mother with a troubled past (O'Neal) struggles to keep her family together as she navigates the ever-increasing inspection of the local military. Is she sleeping with the enemy? Is she providing fuel for warships? Is she a murderer? All good questions worthy of examination against the backdrop of a lush, cypress-tree-filled bayou landscape. Unfortunately, director Pitre doesn't trawl as deeply into his characters as he does the environs they inhabit. How did the moral compass of this town get thrown so far off course? Regrettably, the answer is not here. Still, the film is not without its graces. Cinematographer Uta Briesewitz composes light, shadow, and mood with a skillful tranquility. And special marks are also due Julian Sands for his fine portrayal of a meek, soft-spoken rural doctor. (3/16, Arbor, 3:15pm)

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