365) Julia (2008) Dir: Erick Zonca Date Released: May 2009 Date Seen: October 27, 2009, Rating: 4/5
Any film that gives Tilda Swinton the opportunity to chew up as much scenery as she does in Julia is pretty unmissable, no matter how grim, nerve-wracking or uncomfortably campy her character's actions are. As the titular protagonist, Swinton delivers a Joan Crawford-worthy performance that is all menace, wide eyes, puffed-out chest and lacquered claws. It's a testament to director Erick Zonca's skill that his squirm-inducing side-trips into Lansdale-esque black comedy fit in naturalistically as they do here. In fact, it's a small wonder that Julia doesn't implode considering how reliant its plot is on a myriad little reversals, all of which have potentially dire consequences. You can't just credit Swinton with carrying this little gem. That'd be like crediting Godzilla with being the star of his films when we all know that honor really belongs to the mad set designers that gave the men in the rubber suits room enough to really have at it. Zonca and his three co-writers are damn good architects.