"Death Whispered a Lullaby"
Directed by Terry George
Written by Steven Knight
Music by Mark Isham
Casey Affleck as Paul Starx
Terry O'Quinn as Roger Starx
Franka Potente as Ali
Wendy Crewson as Darla Starx
Jonathan Jackson as Johnny
Tagline: "There is a wound that's always bleeding"
Synopsis: Paul and Ali remain silent, the sound of footsteps are slowly fading away as Roger finally left the room, leaving them tied up for the time being. They hear his mumbling, it's hard to make out his words. Roger talked to his wife Darla, asking what to do next, what must be done? Paul was in sheer discomfort, his mother had been dead for over a year.
At the age of 32 Paul lived with his parents due to his scarred past. He remembers that hot summer evening like it was yesterday. His bed was leaned against his window, he rolled over to look outside and saw a man. The figure was completely black, but still molded in the figure of a man. Letting out the most blood-curdling scream, Darla rushed into her sons bedroom. The man was gone, and the only way to calm Paul down was for her to sing a lullaby from her childhood. It was a continuous pattern for years until the nightmares finally stopped. Roger was the ideal husband, no man could love his wife more. He took the passing the worst of all, but you wouldn't know it. Rogers state of mind was that Darla was still there and would talk to her frequently. Paul must deal with the mourning and his fathers condition while dealing with his own.
Ali was working the night where Darla was shot, no more then ten miles away from the Starx residence, the local grocery store. Darla was the next customer when a mugger approached the counter. There was only one reason for the lash out on Darla, he made his message clear, he wanted cooperation. However the plan backfired. Ali's friend Johnny wasn't supposed to kill anyone, but he left it out of the agreement so Ali didn't back out, he had to keep order.
Torn by guilt and despair, she convienently meets up with Paul after seeing him on the news. She tells him she worked the night of the murder and that she was truly sorry, together the two had a mutual bonding. Johnny didn't want her to spend time with him, afraid their cover would be blown, but it was the only way to relieve her remorse. Roger wasn't happy with the relationship, he believed from his wifes voice that Ali was trying to take the only part of Darla he had left, his son. Although he thought he heard Darla, Roger was behind his own actions. It wasn't until Roger had an anonymous phone call stating that Ali and Paul were involved with the mugging, Johnny would afterwards skip town. Roger wanted answers, and Paul and Ali are held at gun point, tied to a chair. Ali must choose to confess if she wants to save Paul while Paul sings his mothers lullaby. Roger points the gun down and is in distinctive pain. He remembers it was that lullaby Darla sung to Paul when Roger left the house to continue his affair, a secret he could never escape. The gun is cocked and a single shot is fired.
What the Press would say:
"Death Whispered a Lullaby" is the new years most impeccably crafted drama. A film that's superbly acted on all sides with peerlessly superior intentions. A personal tragedy hits home for three individuals with darkened, life altering secrets that connect the three. That being said, the plot is an intense, sophisticated yet suttle plot that focuses on human suffering and its relative ease in connecting with the viewers and evoking emotions. Director Terry George gives an astoundingly and unobtrusive portrayal of the catastrophic events with a touch of power. Death Whispered a Lullaby wastes no time sucking in the audience with its first scene, the abduction scene, a scene that makes us more anxious to see how the film portrays itself. Casey Affleck plays the lead as Paul, a tormented son with pieces of his life never resolved, his overwhelming devotion to his parents make him very weak and vulnerable, a fragile mind with depressing tendencies. "Lost" superstar Terry O'Quinn plays his father, a broken spirit that's on the verge of a mental collapse. His faith that his wife is connecting with him is the only thread he has to hang onto, or is it his insanity? O'Quinn rips and tears through his dialogue and emotion, intensifying all of his scenes that's so accurately riveting. The wildcard is Franka Potente, a down on her luck college drop out in need of a few spare bucks, only plans go drastically wrong. A guilt and pain building up as the world crumbles around her. Her only salvation is her attachment to Paul, together the two create a great chemistry but the guilt is always in the back of Ali's head, only to be betrayed by her accomplice that rats her out and involved Paul in the mugging. "Death Whispered a Lullaby" is undeniably chilling, with unnervingly coincidences, shattered souls, and a powerhouse that leaves no happy trails. One that'll make you reach your inner self blame and sorrow from all the tormented events in your life. A formulaic experience that leaves everyone gasping for their last breath.
Best Picture - Terry George, Steven Knight
Best Director - Terry George
Best Actor - Casey Affleck
Best Supporting Actor - Terry O'Quinn
Best Supporting Actress - Franka Potente
Best Original Screenplay - Steven Knight
Best Music Score - Mark Isham