Quick Review: To Die For (1995, Gus van Sant)

10.-Suzanne-Stone-in-To-Die-For-1995_gallery_primaryRATING: 6/10

Director: Gus van Sant
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Matt Dillon, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, Alison Folland
Screenplay: Buck Henry (Based on the novel by Buck Henry)

Synopsis: An aspiring news anchor, Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) would do anything to become a star, including hiring three small town teenagers to murder her husband.

Quick Thoughts:

1. “To Die For” is one of Van Sant’s weaker films. Though his style of showing the story of Suzanne in a very interesting way (shown through television interviews / documentary-like entries…which actually works for the film), it isn’t anything compared to his other works. Not like “Good Will Hunting” because it’s more of a one character piece.

2. Nicole Kidman is phenomenon as always. Even in the early parts of her career, this was a risky role to play but she shines bright. The film focuses mainly on her character and her crazy antics and it works well. It was perfect casting, because without a talented and skilled actress, “To Die For” wouldn’t have worked. She was perfect and makes the movie worth while.

3. The supporting cast was okay. But Joaquin Phoenix shines the brightest in his small role. You can smell and desperation and stupidity from him. What I like about Phoenix is that he can act with his eyes and it compliments his voice well…acting wise.

4. The score was good; haunting and effecting. The script was good enough. Worked for what it was. Screenwriter Buck Henry gives strong monologues to Kidman. Her craziness would not have worked without a screenplay that understood her personality and showbiz as well.

5. All and all, “To Die For” was okay, but nothing “to die for”. See what I did there? It was a interesting character piece that was entertaining and witty. Explores a different side of fame claiming.

 

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