THE UNSPEAKABLE ACT
(director/writer: Dan Sallitt; cinematographer: Duraid Munajim; editor: Dan Sallitt; cast: Tallie Medel (Jackie Kimball), Kati Schwartz (Jeanne Kimball), Aundrea Fares (Mrs. Kimball), Sky Hirschkron (Matthew Kimball), Caroline Luft (Linda), Caitlin Mehner(Yolanda); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Shari Berman/Jaime Christley/Ania Trzebiatowska; The Cinema Guild; 2013)
“An intelligent and chillingly engaging dark arthouse film, dedicated to Eric Rohmer.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The 57-year-old former film critic turned writer-director, the under-appreciated talented Dan Sallitt(“All The Ships At Sea”/”Honeymoon”), gives us an intelligent and chillingly engaging dark arthouse film, dedicated to Eric Rohmer and inspired by the director’s love for J. D. Salinger’s fiction. It takes on sibling incest in a novel way, as it follows a comfortable family of Brooklyn bohemians living on a serene tree-lined street in a stately house under the supervision of their widowed former drug dealer mom (Aundrea Fares), now an ardent journal writer. The incest takes place only in the head and leaves no traces of scandal for the protagonist. She’s the feisty oddball 17-year-old high schooler Jackie Kimball (Tallie Medel), who is madly in love with an older brother named Matthew (Sky Hirschkron). He offers unbound friendship but no sex. The siblings have seemingly always had a belief that they belong to each other, and lived out this fantasy, but with Matthew not wanting to go as far as sis. Jackie clues us in on what she’s thinking at all times with her voice-overs. An older sis, Jeanne (Kati Schwartz), also lives there but her presence hardly registers.
Filled with mordant humor and unpretentious observations, the plot involves Matthew leaving sis alone for the first time to attend Princeton and Jackie now on her own has to learn how to grow-up, meet boys and find out what she’s all about.
An American indie with European sensibilities, it makes for a different sort of coming of age film–a highbrow and distinctive one that’s worth checking out. Sallitt remains relatively unknown but in the four films he has helmed has proven to be one of the better American indie directors, an artist who strays from the reservation of other noteworthy American indie directors.
REVIEWED ON 10/16/2013 GRADE: B+