UP until this movie, writer/director Jason Reitman had concentrated on comedies — Juno, Thank You For Smoking and Up In The Air. In this, his latest project, the ambience and focus of his work changes to something altogether more sombre and thought-provoking.
Josh Brolin — whose star turn was as Vietnam vet Llewelyn in the Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men — plays an escaped convict, Frank. Badly injured, he accosts the fragile-minded single mother Adele (Kate Winslet) in a supermarket with her 12-year-old son Henry (played by Gattlin Griffith).
Taking place over Labor Day weekend in Massachusetts in 1987, the stage is set for a siege scenario, as the broody, moody Frank holds them hostage in their own home. But soon he is demonstrating his pastry skills to mom and son as together they make his peach pie.
It may sound unlikely, but Reitman pulls this central scene together, making something strangely erotic out of such a normal everyday activity as cooking.
Winslet has proved to be a past master of playing these types of roles — the down-trodden housewife who could have been so much more if she’d only believed in herself (who can forget her stunning performance in Revolutionary Road?) and Brolin plays the muscle-bound, brutal intruder with a seam of gold running through his core.