3.0, United States/Canada

Everything Is Illuminated

2005 / Liev Schreiber > I didn’t read Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, on whose fictionalized real-life experience this film is based. And although both Liev Schreiber’s directorial debut as well as the the primary narrator Alex ‘s choice of words (“Many girls want to be carnal with me because I’m such a premium dancer!) both intrigued me, the catalyst for me to watch it was Matthew Libatique’s cinematography. As expected, therefore, the film is absolutely gorgeous which a few memorable scenes (including the top-down views of Alex’s bedroom at the beginning and bathroom at the end).

The story is interesting as a Jewish-American returns to Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather’s life from the Nazis, and in this journey, he and his guides discover their past. The ending is arguably too ideal, too cheesy, too clean but nevertheless still above par. I look forward to more work from Schreiber.