316) Life During Wartime (2009) Dir: Todd Solondz Not Yet Released Date Seen: September 29, 2009 Rating: 4/5
The palpable acrimony Todd Solondz invests in his characters' personalities is dialed down significantly in Life During Wartime, a black comedy that is unjustly being dismissed as more of the same from the morose American agitator. Here his fixation with caricaturing the schnooks he sympathizes with most is more palatable than his previous successes as it's more pointed but no less searing in its impact. His characters' affected voices just barely hide the aching humanity in even the most churlishly funny among them. Solondz's confrontational style is a gimmick to be sure but the urgency of Life During Wartime has effectively channeled his usual blustery dual fascination/frustration with the stereotypical behavior of status quo-upholding psychotics. Thanks once again to another excellent eclectic cast of performers, especially Charlotte Rampling, Ciaran Hinds and Paul Reubens, the moral center of Solondz's latest is dense enough and certainly macabrely humorous enough to pack a devastating punch. Hurts so good.