Annal: 1997 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 1997.

Film:Sling Blade

Sling Blade

Billy Bob Thornton

Billy Bob Thornton wrote, directed, and starred in this mesmerizing drama with haunting overtones of To Kill a Mockingbird. Thornton plays a mentally retarded man who has spent 20 years in a psychiatric hospital for killing his mother and her lover. Released into the community from which he came, he befriends and protects a lonely boy regularly harassed and abused by his mom’s boyfriend (a terrific performance by Dwight Yoakam). The story is ultimately about sacrifice, but Thornton certainly doesn’t get twinkly about it. Some of the best material concerns…

Film:La Cérémonie

La Cérémonie

Claude Chabrol

In the 1960s and early ‘70s, Claude Chabrol was celebrated as the Gallic Hitchcock for his crisp, character-rich thrillers. La Cérémonie, his 1997 hit adapted from Ruth Rendell’s novel A Judgement in Stone, is a return to form, an assured domestic drama set in the upper-class household of the kind but condescending Lelievres family. Sandrine Bonnaire, excellent in an enigmatic, uncommunicative role, stars as their new, neurotically silent maid Sophie. She performs her duties efficiently and emotionlessly, staring out from behind an implacable,…

Film:Fargo

Fargo

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Leave it to the wildly inventive Coen brothers (Joel directs, Ethan produces, they both write) to concoct a fiendishly clever kidnap caper that’s simultaneously a comedy of errors, a Midwestern satire, a taut suspense thriller, and a violent tale of criminal misfortune. It all begins when a hapless car salesman (played to perfection by William H. Macy) ineptly orchestrates the kidnapping of his own wife. The plan goes horribly awry in the hands of bumbling bad guys Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare (one of them being described by a local girl as “kinda funny…

Film:Lone Star

Lone Star

John Sayles

Writer-director John Sayles’s finest film to date is a sprawling, multilayered exploration of American boundaries—cultural, racial, sexual, temporal—set in a tiny Texas town on (naturally) the border of Mexico. Comparable in scope and detail to such wonderful movies as Nashville, Boogie Nights, or Sayles’s own City of Hope, Lone Star plays like a fertile novel, weaving its numerous characters in and out of its large canvas and repays numerous repeated viewings. Sayles centres this tapestry with a murder mystery and touching romance,…

Film:Trainspotting

Trainspotting

Danny Boyle

With its hallucinatory visions of crawling dead babies and a grungy plunge into the filthiest toilet in Scotland, you might not think Trainspotting could have been one of the best movies of 1996, but Danny Boyle’s film about unrepentant heroin addicts in Edinburgh is all that and more. That doesn’t make it everybody’s cup of tea (so unsuspecting viewers beware), but the film’s blend of hyperkinetic humor and real-life horror is constantly fascinating, and the entire cast (led by Ewan McGregor and Full Monty star Robert Carlyle) bursts off of the…

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