Nicole Kidman gives a great performance in this brilliantly acerbic satire on fame and the American Dream, playing shallow suburban princess Suzanne Stone whose entire life has been devoted to becoming a television celebrity.
A job at a local TV station seems like the first step on her journey to the top, but when her husband, Larry (Matt Dillon) announces his desire to start a family, she realises he has to go and persuades her dim-witted teenage lover Jimmy (Joaquin Phoenix) to murder him.
Sharply scripted by Buck Henry from Joyce Maynard’s bestselling novel, which was inspired by true events, this frighteningly funny, razor-sharp drama is one of director Gus Van Sant’s most accessible movies.
Gone is the puzzling quirkiness of (1989) and My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Van Sant simply allows the riveting story to shine through above any extraneous style.
Kidman, all pretty in pink lipstick and poisonous plans, is a revelation. There’s fine support from Illeana Douglas, who gets to end this delightful satire with a marvellously cynical cutting-edge climax.
Man at lake
Gus Van Sant