The Kreutzer Sonata
Facts and Figures
Run time: 99 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th June 2008
Distributed by: IFC Films
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 8
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
The Kreutzer Sonata Review
Edgar (Huston) has planned a benefit dinner in his home in aid of African war victims. The centrepiece of the evening will be a performance of Beethoven's Sonata No 9, performed by professional violinist Aidan (King) and Edgar's wife Abby (Röhm), who gave up her career as a concert pianist to raise his children.
But this sonata has a lusty history, and Edgar finds it impossible to believe that Aidan and Abby aren't having an affair. Consumed with jealousy, he considers taking the ultimate action against them.
Rose and Eno's script fractures the story into a series of flashbacks that swirl into a frenzy of fevered obsession as we see the events through Edgar's eyes. The more details we catch, the more afraid we are of what he will do next, and this is made even more squirm-inducing by the fact that it seems to be much ado about nothing (or rather, tragically Othello-like), and Edgar might be working himself into a murderous rage against two innocent people.
As with Ivanstxc, Rose keeps the camera right on Huston, almost guerrilla-style. Scenes are intimate and intense, sometimes a bit overwrought, with surprising jump cuts and an energetic pace. Amid the cross-cutting, we see Edgar and Abby's story, from meeting to the unplanned pregnancy (one child is played by Huston's daughter Stella) and years of domestic bliss and hell.
There's also a lovely sequence when Edgar meets with his formidable sister, played with a spark of chemistry by Danny's big sis Angelica.
All of this is performed with such raw honesty that we feel almost like we're intruding on their personal life. Sex scenes are especially intimate, as Huston throws himself into the role and anchors the film as a likeable anti-hero. It's more than just infidelity here: it's a woman who has found her inner strength, which is threatening to the man who has indulged her insecurities. But the effect of this is to get us on their side as a couple, and watching them head for the worst end possible is powerfully gripping.