Jane Weinstock’s The Moment, is a curious web of intrigue, seduction, and murder, set against the backdrop of war.
Lee (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a war photographer who has just survived a massive suicide bombing in Somalia. Apart from her physical injuries and the horror of watching her beautiful interpreter expire in the attack, it’s no wonder that Lee’s problems overwhelm her as she meanders between hospitalization and psychiatric therapy. Life at home seems hardly serene either, with Lee’s mysterious ex-husband, resentful daughter, and boyfriend John (Martin Henderson)— a writer fighting addictions and demons of his own. It is when John suddenly disappears, and Lee enlists the help of a lawyer-“friend” (John-doppelganger) she met when they were both hospitalized, that murder becomes a viable possibility, and Lee its prime suspect.
Certainly The Moment is not a boring film, but does it work as a successful psychological thriller? For the most part, yes—and I’ll explain why by weighing the movie’s cons against its pros:
- The Moment stagnates in certain scenes, which loosens its ability to consistently compel its viewers
- The film bounces between flashbacks and the present, often and seamlessly, making it difficult to separate the two, and determine fact from fiction.
- The film bounces between flashbacks and the present, often and seamlessly, making it difficult to separate the two, and determine fact from fiction
- Interesting character profiles that provoke thought
- Great storyline that invites viewer participation
Though some may find The Moment’s non-linear format needlessly difficult, and its story too much like an evening soap opera, I really enjoyed the movie. In many ways its style reminds me of David Lynch’s Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive, with much in the way of absurd, comic relief and possibilities far outside of the world we believe we know. I also appreciate the subtle interior and exterior lighting techniques, which add to the psychological affect of the film. Most of all, I like that Norris and Weinstock do not spoon feed their story to viewers, but instead offer a host of feasible clues and prospects, and let them decide what’s happening.
The Moment is a great example of independent film as it should be, and is definitely worth seeing more than once, just in case you miss something the first time out. Check out the ending, which is pretty wild too.