Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Trial of Alice Adams

Author(s): Chris Jaworsky
Location: Canada

"The Trial of Alice Adams"

Directed By: David Fincher
Written By: Stephen Soderbergh and Robert Molesco
A fictional story loosely based off the Yates Murders in Clear Lake City, Texas

Main Cast

Jennifer Connelly as Alice Adams
Matt Damon as Rudolph Adams
Gary Oldman as Bradley Grey
Leonardo DiCaprio as Detective Fred Henstridge
Natalie Portman as Kaitlyn Egan
Ed Harris as D.A. Owen Smithson
Julianne Moore as Dr. Chris Partridge
Samuel L. Jackson as Comissioner Dale Robertson
Vivica A. Fox as Judge Rita Tringlow
Marcia Gay Harden as Margret Grey

Tagline: "Discover True Insanity"

Synopsis: On July 21st, 2006 in Houston, Texas, Rudy Adams received a phone call from his wife, Alice. She revealed to him that that very morning, she drowned and killed their four children in the bathroom, in their bedroom. She tells Rudy that she has called the police and the media and they are on their way.

The Trial of Alice Adams is an in depth look at the human psyche, not just of a killer, but those people around the killer. Based off the true story of Andrea Yates, The Trial of Alice Adams follows the storylines of all the people connected to the Trial; connected to Alice and the shocking and horrendous crime she has committed. As Alice dives deeper into madness, those connected to her become more desperate in their own personal plights: each revolving around Alice.

Rudolph “Rudy” Adams (Matt Damon) is a Microsoft engineer and husband of Alice Adams. After the murder of his 4 children and the arrest of his wife, Rudy becomes a tireless campaigner for awareness of post-partum depression. Post-partum depression is what Rudy believes his wife suffers from, considering she only became depressed after the birth of their daughter, Jessica. He is desperately loyal to his wife and maintains that the guilt is to be put on post-partum depression.

Bradley Grey (Gary Oldman) is a friend and neighbor of the Adams’; incidentally he is also an Attorney at Law. After Alice’s arrest, he offers his service, free of charge, to Rudy and Alice. His wife, Margret (Marcia Gay Harden) disagrees with his actions and would rather have him stay out of a trial as controversial as a filicide. Bradley thinks of it only as a selfless way to help a friend, despite the heavy nature of the crime.

Detective Fred Henstridge (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the first member of the Houston Police Department on the scene of the crime. Being a young detective, and without major experience in this field, Henstridge is shocked and basically traumatized by seeing a scene such as this. In all his training for this job, nothing could have prepared him for something such as this. Even though Henstridge cannot stand this case, he becomes obsessed with it and years to know what drove Alice to do such a thing.

Kaitlyn Egan (Natalie Portman) is a young, successful lawyer working in the District Attorney’s Office. She is a rising star in Houston, and aspires to one day become District Attorney, like her mentor, Owen Smithson. She is by-the-book to the core and believes that her duty is to the law. Smithson assigns her to work the Alice Adams case, to see what she could do in a case as bizarre and unusual as this. However, she notices an unusual young man during the trail, one Fred Henstridge, and she falls in love with him, as much as she tries to deny it. Kaitlyn finds Henstridge intriguing; a brooding cop who had seen too much. She becomes distracted from her duty as prosecutor with Henstridge, who is in turn obsessing over the trial and Alice

Owen Smithson (Ed Harris) is the District Attorney of Houston and a rich, self-centred man. Smithson, who has a secret sexual desire for Kaitlyn, has made passes or given hints to her many times, but she had always rejected him. Smithson thinks that if he pulls strings to get her recognized, she would “thank him” in the way he wanted. Little does he know that Kaitlyn is falling for Henstridge.

Dr. Chris Partridge (Julianne Moore) is a state-assigned psychiatrist who is assigned to work with Alice. Dr. Partridge is very intrigued by Alice’s state of mind, her devout religious views, and her reasons for committing filicide. She deduces Alice’s ailments during the time of the trial, and begins to track and plot Alice’s eventual descent into insanity.

Commissioner Dale Robertson (Samuel L. Jackson) is the soon to be retired Chief of Police in Houston, on account of a stroke he had a few years back. He has never before seen a crime such as this in his years on the police force. Because of the trial’s emotional strain on Henstridge, Robertson takes pity on him and gives him some much-needed cop-to-cop guidance.

Judge Rita Tringlow (Vivica A. Fox) is the Judge for the Trial of Alice Adams; she is conservative to the bone and ready to throw the book at Alice for committing such an appauling, horrifying and evil as this one.

And finally there is Alice Adams (Jennifer Connelly) who is the centre of this hyperlink drama. She was a homemaker and a stay at home mom until after the birth of her 4th child, Jessica. She then developed post-partum depression and eventually killed her children after deceiving her husband that she was healthy. After the incident she called the police and admitted openly to killing her children because she was becoming a bad mother and she though that her kids wouldn’t grow up right if they had someone as bad as her for a mother. After being arrested and taken to jail, she slowly but surely becomes more and more insane for no apparent reason, and everyone becomes perplexed.

What the Press would say:

David Fincher can now add The Trial of Alice Adams to his wall of fame, as it has become one of the most thrilling motion pictures of the year. This year’s best picture frontrunner had all that a good story needs, love, hate, passion, regret, friendship, loyalty, justice, horror and what story would be complete without a twisted ending? Fincher brings the shockingly story of Alice Adams into light with the help of Oscar winners Steven Soderbergh and Robert Molesco in the writing category, creating a complex and diverse cast of characters whose fates and futures lie in the hands of Alice Adams. Cinematography was nothing short of spectacular in this film, it’s different and twisting camera angles help explore the dark aspect of this film. The performances in this movie was astounding, the casting directors could have picked nobody better suited to fill these deep and complicated characters’ shoes. The audience will be completely spellbound and on the edge of their seats to find out what will happen next.

Jennifer Connelly was completely amazing as the titual character, Alice Adams; truly the highlight of her career. She completely transforms from a regular housewife to a completely insane killer in the blink of an eye and she deserves to be commended for it. Never before has she pulled off such an act of brilliance or disturbance.

Matt Damon gives another highlight-reel performance as Rudy Adams, a man torn between his two undying loves, his children and his wife. He represents a man torn; a man who is lost and finds comfort only within himself. Matt Damon finally produces another performance of his that will go down as one of the top films in his career, up with the ranks of Good Will Hunting and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

But the cream of the crop in this film must go to Leonardo DiCaprio, who puts all of his heart and effort to becoming the character of Fred Henstridge: A lonely police detective who has put all his effort into unraveling the apparent insanity of Alice Adams. A definite hats-off to Leo for another brilliant portrayal and once again shows his acting prowess.

All in all, this film although it may be dark and brooding is one of the most entrancing films of the year and it subtly reminds us that as humans, we are not all perfect, we are not all good. As we can see with both the characters and the events unraveled in this film, everybody has their flaws, and sometimes people will just snap. 10/10

For Your Consideration:

Best Picture
Best Director: David Fincher
Best Actress: Jennifer Connelly
Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon; Gary Oldman; Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman
Best Cinematography
Best Original Screenplay

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