Cradle Will Fall (aka Baby Blues) (2008) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
If there is one movie that has surprised me lately it is this one. There's always trepidation when it comes to new movies, in a current climate when movies are not that great you are taking the chance no matter what you do. This was by far a great and worthy gamble.
Having seen the trailer for Baby Blues I was already intrigued and when the DVD came to fruition I thought a chance was in the offing. This is an uncomfortable and unsettling watch but worth the time as it reels you in and grabs you.
Tired of standard Hollywood fare? Then watch this, it might give you chills but it is a worthwhile film that breaks current trend.
Father works a job that often takes him away from home and with the children alone, Mom begins to lose control as the stress takes its toll, eventually leading her into a psychotic breakdown thanks in part to the postpartum depression she has suffered since the birth of her last child. Now with her completely broken down she is compelled to her exterminate her children: ages, 10 years, 7, 4 and 3 months old. Hope alone rests on the eldest son, Jimmy. With his smart wit, intellect and renowned knowledge of the farm, he must now protect his siblings from the woman he once called mother. It all culminates in a shocking finale and the biggest battle of all, Mother vs. Son, who will survive the deadly battle...?
Starting off slowly allows us to get into the mind of Mom and the family dynamics around her. The disintegrating relationship between father and mother is evident as she hangs by a thread throughout, we know she will snap and it is just a matter of time.
It works because we are given ample concern to care for the children and even on some level the mother. What is truly scary about Cradle will Fall, is that this story is NOT removed from reality. Too often we hear stories of mothers who in ill state have done seemingly unfathomable things. This is closer to the truth than we probably like to admit and it shows the devastating effects if nothing is done to help the depressed party. This is why Cradle Will Fall is so hard to watch because it's steeped in reality and therefore at times an uncomfortable watch.
Credit goes directly to:
Colleen Porch as Mom and Ridge Canipe as Jimmy.
Porch was fantastic in her main role. From the start of the frayed self she is trying to keep in control to her ultimately downfall, she did a fantastic job. I cannot begin to think how hard it was for her to play such a role given the lengths her character goes to, but she did it well without losing composure, elegance or heart and we really get into the heart of her character. When she become truly monster-ish is when we have to stop liking her character and it was not hard as she plays as close to the bone as possible. A great actress who truly excelled in this hardworking, difficult but astonishing character.
Then there was Canipe as Jimmy. A young actor who completely stunned me with how well he worked in the role. I have seen him around in various other roles, TV and otherwise, he is truly a gifted young actor who can work a role well in the right movie and this role was made for him. The exhaustive energy he had to put into the movie is breathtaking, the flinches of what his character had to do was stunning and we felt for this young boy throughout the movie as he witnesses and watches moments he shouldn't and Canipe just made every tender, dark moment seem real and nerving. Such a young actor but a great one who completely shocked me, beautiful.
There is a lot that is impressive about the film, take into account it is a independent film that doesn't have half the budget of bigger earning films, yet it has more heart, more thrills and chills and a very dark undercurrent throughout.
Cinematography- I was impressed yet again. Dark is not too dark and you can see everything that happens and occurs. The beginning with lingering shots of fields, a focussed shot on a tattered and useless car and a soft shot that stays on the house for a few minutes. That glorious shot difference between night and dark is fantastic as well, as well as the generous shots of anything bloody. Never too obvious and never too oblique but an ideal mixture of just in between.
Cradle Will Fall, The Score:
It was not really a major factor and possible the one thing lacking in the movie. It could have been more of a player throughout and cranked up extra tension but it just lacked that flair. The lesser part that let it down.
Special effects/ Gore,
It's only implied, barely seen. I have heard from a lot of sources this works against the grain of the movie but I'm of a different opinion. The targeted are young kids, those that die are also young and to show all the gratifying bloodshed would have been to me, in rather bad taste and overdone. There is a black and grey area and the director needs to know when enough is enough. We do see some shocking moments, a scene around Mom and one of the boys and a layer of blood covering her, it actually shook me. And some others but the implied element were a little bit of genius that stopped it from being totally in the face and more suggestive, nice little touch.
This is a nice film that has escaped the limelight and therefore not gotten the due respect it deserves which is a shame. I've noticed the reviews for this have been mixed but it is a movie worth taking the time to see. Instead of the usual drunk teenagers or naive parents it instead focuses on children who still believe in the boogie man and then are placed in truly horrific situations.
If there was one true flaw it was the final act/ scene. It seemed clichéd and in a movie that managed to surpass a lot of the pitfalls it seemed a rather obvious ending which was a shame. That is not to say it doesn't happen but there are question marks and it doesn't quite deliver that effective punch we are looking for. Admirable but this finale missed the part by quite a bit.
You want the standard fare then of course this will miss the mark. But if you want to see a movie that has heart, compassion and real substance then this will appeal to you. Rent it and you'll see for yourself, it's simple yet effective and a welcome addition to a genre we all know and love.