Lasse Hallström has built a career in creating good dramatic films without plodding onto that already-trodden field of heartwarming tales that are supposedly uplifting and inspirational but actually are trite and insipid. Add The Shipping News to his growing list of achievements.
Kevin Spacey’s rendition of Quoyle again proves that the man is one of today’s elite performers as he’s able to totally convince the viewer that he is Quoyle (just as he was Verbal Kint, Jack Vincennes, and Lester Burnham to name a few). Not only is his performance stellar but his story is equally compelling – not to forget Cate Blanchett, whose role was way too short in the film.
The story that leads to the cold environs of Newfoundland allows Hallström to get creative in presenting the movie’s look. The washed out colors of the art direction coupled with Andrew Mondshein’s editing and Oliver Stapleton’s cinematography (both with previous Hallström films on their resume) hit a cinematic groove that allowed Hallström to punch up the quality of this film to become as majestic as the landscape. Christopher Young’s score completed the package – and what a fine, surprising treat it is.
The Shipping News is a great “man-finds-self” piece flecked with inspirational undertows and humor succinctly added where needed.