Formally, the film is deep-dish pleasure. Cinematographer Ed Lachman (using the Red camera system) enables Solondz to raise his visual game to a new level; the richly colored compositions are as bold as the dialogue. —Variety
After a four year hiatus from filmmaking, Todd Solondz is back with his latest feature Life During Wartime. Not to be confused with the Talking Heads song, Life During Wartime is an un-sequel (more of a variation to) Happiness because it stands alone as a singular body of work. Solondz (who made quirky indie favorites like Welcome to the Dollhouse, Storytelling, Happiness, and Palindromes), does not stray too far from his prior films in regards to his controversially dark themes (child abuse, suicide, incest, etc), but does in the regard of compassion. The characters in Life During Wartime have undergone life and the most brutal of its hand, and the way in which Solondz depicts them is with utmost honesty. His ability to tactfully comment the less than savory elements of human behavior—although at times uneasy and unsettling in nature—solidifies the understanding of the people in the film, of society’s capacity of growth and compassion.
While it is not necessary to see Happiness before seeing this film, there are subtle and very funny references to the previous film for those who are familiar with this work. The same characters, played by different actors, have moved on. Their lives have changed, but the memory of something terrible from the past lingers as three distant sisters reconnect and create a portrait of those seeking love and rebuilding family, all to the backdrop of mounting fear of terrorists.
The Walker will be hosting a sneak preview of Life During Wartime on Wednesday October 28th at 7:30 pm.