Many films have claimed that, beneath the sparkling Formica and easy-clean linoleum, there's something's rotten at the heart of suburbia. Few, however, have addressed the topic with such memorable characterizations, disquieting imagery, and thematic coherence as director Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. Though set in the 1970s, the film doesn't use the era as an ironic punch line. Lee and writer James Schamus (adapting Rick Moody's acclaimed novel) portray the decade as a time of ambivalence and displacement, when America was left rudderless in the wake of the 1960s. The stellar cast -- including Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and budding talents Tobey Maguire and Christina Ricci -- adroitly convey the vacant desires and casual misgivings of different generations of an affluent New England community. Though punctuated by some moments of dark humor, The Ice Storm is as bleak as its title suggests, and may not be for all tastes.
by Matthew Doberman review