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the things we lost in the fire Things We Lost In The Fire
Directed by
: Susanne Bier
Cast: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny

Written by:
Tony DeFrancisco

October 31, 2007

“S'got you smoking... You know its true nobody ever really quits... Smoker’s a smoker when the chips are down, and your chips are down pretty much.” – Benicio Del Toro, “Sin City”


My favorite horror film is “Requiem for a Dream.” That shouldn’t be a surprise to most that know me but it should be a surprise to people who haven’t even heard of the film. “Requiem for a Dream” is not a horror film. It’s a drama that deals with the lives of four people, all who are addicted to different types of drugs. What happens to them is some of the scariest things that I’ve seen. “Things We Lost In The Fire” uses not only the fear of drugs, but many other fears as well, to drive its fantastic storyline.

The best way to go into this movie is without knowing what is about. That means stop reading this review and go out to see it. I say that because I went into this film knowing nothing about it and thought I was going to hate it. I usually hate Halle Berry aside from her looks and David Duchovny doesn’t really appeal to me (though lately he’s been grabbing my attention with this and “The TV Set”). And even though I didn’t know a single thing about it, the film is one of my favorites of the year right now.

Halle Berry plays Audrey Burke, a mother of two, ten-year-old Harper and six-year-old Dory, and a wife of a loving husband, Steven. One day going out to get ice-cream for the children, he never comes back, and hours later, the police show up at Audrey’s front-door to tell her that he was shot and killed after trying to help a domestic act of violence. He has died a hero, but Audrey just can’t come to terms with his death. It’s like she wants to pretend that he is somewhere waiting for her to go run away, but she can’t face reality.

Steven had a best friend since second grade, Jerry. Jerry is a heroin addict that can’t seem to hold onto a job and gets caught into the webs of music. Whenever no one else believed in Jerry, Steven was always there to lend a helping hand. This would make Audrey jealous and scared. She hated Jerry for the reason that her husband tells everything to him and not much to her. When Steven was killed, Audrey asks Jerry if he could move in and help her come to terms with his death, but that’s not the real reason. What Audrey is trying to do is to help Jerry drive in a different direction than the path to drugs.

“Things We Lost In The Fire” is not only sad and powerful, but it’s a surprising movie and you don’t expect the half of it. There has been a lack of promotion for this movie, and the first time I heard about this was two days before it came out in theaters. And even though this film is dramatic, it’s a character study also. We meet the characters about ten minutes into the actual movie. The first ten minutes, we only see people rushing around trying to locate a guy who was a friend of someone’s who died. The person that died, or Steven, is nothing more than a McGuffin. The death is only used to meet Jerry and meet all the people around that care for him.

In one of the very pivotal scenes of the film, Steven, while he was alive, tries to help Dory face his fear of going underwater. He fails at it and when he dies, Dory thinks that he will never overcome his fear. When Jerry moves in, they go swimming and he shows Dory how to go underwater. This scene is the best way to summarize the movie. In “Things We Lost In The Fire,” everyone has a fear. Audrey has the fear of being alone. Harper has a fear of animals being killed. Jerry has a fear of the drugs. All the characters help one another overcome those fears, and it shows to us that while having fear is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s a bigger fear to overcome it.

The performances here are absolutely extraordinary. Halle Berry knows that I’m no Dave Chappelle and that I won’t give her any free breaks, but this time I swear to my god, Bobby Lee, that I’m not. She plays her character so emotional, so powerful that when we meet her character, we know that she will not be the ordinary wife. She actually has emotion, where last week I saw Angelina Jolie play a wife who’s husband has died with literally NO emotion. But that is Angelina Jolie, mother of twenty-seven children and this is Halle Berry, one of the hottest Bond girls to date.

But while Halle Berry is on-screen, we space her out with her co-star, Benicio Del Toro. I’m one of those people who never really stood up and recognized the guy for what he has done. Hell, the only movies I saw of his prior to this were “Sin City” (favorite movie of all-time if you didn’t know that), “21 Grams,” and “The Usual Suspects.” He deserves another Oscar nomination here as the drug-addict Jerry. He plays this role with such conviction. His character almost reminds me of Jared Leto’s character in “Requiem for a Dream.” They are both two of some of the greatest characters that were addicted to drugs in film history.

“Things We Lost In The Fire” is a film that is going to be overlooked by moviegoers, but looked at by the Academy. And I say good. You moviegoers that think the greatest movie out there is “Tyler Perry’s New Nightmare” should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t deserve it and the cast and crew don’t deserve having you guys watching it.


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