'Joshua' Does a Lot With a Little

Maui Time | July 18, 2007
There's a definite Bad Seed vibe going on in this sophisticated psychological thriller that unfolds with such precision you'll want to see it a second time just to catch its many degrees of nuanced escalation. Writer/director George Ratliff (Hell House) casts Manhattan as the rarefied setting where upper class parents Brad and Abby Cairn (Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga) welcome their second child, a daughter, into their Central Park high rise apartment where their 9-year-old son Joshua (Jacob Kogan) holds court. Joshua is a picture of private school perfection as he plays classical pieces on the family piano while adding flourishes of improvised dissonance. The new baby's unrelenting cries push Abby past her breaking point, and Joshua's passive aggressive actions -- he seems responsible for the family dog's death -- press his caring father's buttons like the dissonant notes Joshua plays on the piano. Composer Nico Muhly adds gracefully to the creepy atmosphere of a film that does a lot with a little.

Rated R, 105 mins. (B)

Maui Time

Maui Time Weekly provides insightful analysis and in depth reporting. We believe some issues are so important they require thoughtful consideration. We are not a “paper of record”—a daily journal of government meetings, ribbon-cuttings and corporate announcements. We decide what’s...
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