Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rhys Ifans & Samantha Morton
Lovers Joe and Claire are enjoying a day out in the sun, having a picnic in a field outside of Oxford. Their time together is interrupted suddenly when a hot air balloons descends from the sky, one of its passengers dangling from the basket being dragged along the field. Joe, and others who witness the crash from the road, run after the balloon and bring it to a halt. However, before the man's young son gets out, the balloon takes off again with Joe and the other helpers holding on. One by one, the helpers let go of the basket, while one holds on too long. The men watch the balloon drift away, and finally the last man falls down to his death. Joe is traumatized by what he witnesses and can't seem to let it go. Soon after, one of the helpers calls his flat. This man, Jed, tells Joe that there is something they must discuss. When they meet, Jed is very off-putting, never stating quite what he means to say. Joe soon finds himself struggling to disentangle himself from Jed, as well as the balloon accident.
In my view, the genre of this film itself alters completely about halfway through. In the beginning, it posed moral questions to the audience. Who is at fault for the man's death? Why did the man hold on for so long? Halfway through, though, we seem to forget all of this as all of a sudden we find ourselves in the midst of a thriller. Personally, I feel that this is just a bad decision to make, and I suppose I must blame Ian McEwan, author of the novel. There's no question that this simply wasn't his best novel (though I haven't read it myself).
Aside from that, this film is quite well done. The cinematography is phenomenal, especially the scene of the balloon accident. The acting is very good, as well. Daniel Craig flawlessly portrays the devolution of a man's character after a traumatic experience.
The reaction to the film seems to be mixed. Among the audience, many have criticized the film as negatively portraying both the mentally troubled as well as homosexuals. I have to agree, I found that there was absolutely no sympathy for our antagonist, which I believe is simply something that shouldn't be done aside from evil maniacs in fantasy stories.
Overall, I'm pretty ambivalent.
No Fun Trivia, once again, folks. IMDB is failing on us.