‘Meadowland’ courageously dark
The thing that’s so exhilarating about Reed Morano’s directorial debut “Meadowland” is its courageous tendency to not shy away from darkness. From the beginning, we’re aware that our two main characters are in deep pain. And, as an audience, are asked to grapple with their issues along with them.
The film’s opening scene sets the tone for the rest, in which a married couple – played by Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson – lose their young child on a family trip (presumably due to an abduction). But this sequence only lasts a few short minutes, with the extent of the movie focused on the hazy aftermath. We watch the two bottle up their emotions and feelings when around each other, only letting them out when alone, and their relationship begins to falter. Olivia Wilde’s character roams the subway in the middle of the night, her maternal emptiness spreading like wildfire. And Luke Wilson’s character – a New York City cop – resorts to a cold, forbidding perspective (barely able to attend his support group each week). They both cling to the most significant memories they have, failing to make new ones in the wake of the tragedy.
Their superb performances perfectly capture the sad indecision and subsequent recklessness after the loss of a loved one. Reed Morano, who made her name in the film industry as a cinematographer, photographs and directs the movie magnificently. It’s one of the most well-shot and competently made dramas I’ve seen in quite a while. Though its gut-wrenching subject matter may divide viewers, the emotional weight it carries is undeniable. And with this being made by a first-time filmmaker, you can’t ask for much more. “Meadowland” is now playing in select theaters and available On Demand.