Best and Worst of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'Lay the Favorite,' 'The Surrogate'
What to see and avoid when these flicks come your way
Best: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'
If the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is remembered for anything it will be the arrival of a new cinematic talent, Benh Zeitlin. The first time feature filmmaker has crafted a picture that's hard to categorize nor forget. The story is told through the eyes of Hushpuppy (six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis), a girl living with her father (Dwight Henry) off what the land provides them in an unincorporated area of the Louisiana bayou referred to as "the bathtub." The drama includes recognizable themes of man's destruction of the environment and rejecting government authority, but is centered on the heartbreaking relationship between Hushpuppy and her increasingly unbalanced father. Zeitlin brings a Terrence Malick-esque eye to much of the film's imagery and, along with an impressive score (which he co-wrote), "Beasts" crescendos to an unexpectedly euphoric climax that will have audiences buzzing.
- Gregory Ellwood