DEEPLY DEEPLY DEEPLY
written and directed by Sheri Elwood, produced by Carolynne Bell and Karen Arikian, with Kirsten Dunst, Lynn Redgrave, Julia Brendler, Alberta Watson, Peter Donaldson and Brent Carver. 101 minutes. Opens Friday (February 9). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 65. Rating: NN deeply marks the feature debut of Toronto filmmaker Sheri Elwood. She's taken on a story that looks manageably small but demands vast emotional scope. A young girl lands in coastal nowheresville with her mom, traumatized by a bad accident. She discovers the prickly town crone, played by Lynn Redgrave, and pushes her to share a story she's kept hidden for ages. This brings Kirsten Dunst into the film, playing a girl named Silly.
That was a mistake.
Deeply aims high, even crafting some scenes and shots to look like The Piano. But two things keep bringing it crashing back to earth.
First, the movie never finds a language to express the emotions of its lead character, leaving her stranded in her own navel.
Second, Deeply lacks the grace it seeks. Redgrave's performance, instead of suggesting mystery and buried rage, is all mumbly and disconnected. And Dunst, stripped of both the glamour of her recent Hollywood characters and the uncanny presence of her childhood roles, looks visibly adrift.
Part of the problem may be technical. Much of the dialogue sounds like it's been re-recorded in studio, which adds to the film's hollow, distant feel. CAMERON BAILEY