Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Secret Life of Words

The Secret Life of Words is a title that may put off some cinema goers, as might the knowledge that this is a Spanish film, but actually it is all in English. Joseph (Tim Robbins) is temporarily blind as he is recovering from burns and other injuries suffered trying to rescue his best friend on an offshore oil rig. Curious about the nurse who was hired and flown out to look after him, he start with the obvious questions. She stymies him at question one by refusing to tell him her name. So he calls her Cora, and sets out to prise out her secrets by trading his for hers. She has a head start on his secrets as she listens his last cell phone message at night. We have a slight head start on Joseph as we know that Hanna (Sarah Polley) was working in a dead end factory job, not talking to her workmates, not taking holidays or sick leave and leading a sterile, lonely home life before she was hired for this job. But we don't know what she hiding or hiding from, until she finally confides in Joseph. The revelation is pretty stunning.

I was expecting a dark movie that got darker as it went on, but apart from Hanna's secret and my own suspicions about the accident on the rig it is actually, on balance, a happy movie. The almost shut down rig is populated by a reduced crew of people who for their own reasons want to avoid the world. The miss fit crew includes a pair of singing, gay roughnecks, an obsessed marine biologist, a musical chef and a goose.

Ian's rating: 3/5

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