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Bramhall's lacerating honesty gets a solid counterpoint in Joel Swetow's beautifully debonair performance as Alceste's easygoing, empathic friend Philinte.
Even the vastly deserving Tom Cruise was probably nominated as much for being a Hollywood rainmaker as for the intense, lacerating originality of his ``Magnolia'' ensemble turn.
Screenwriter-director Anthony Minghella, who so successfully cracked the all-but-unfilmable ``English Patient'' last time out, has faithfully reproduced the peculiar, clammy atmosphere of Patricia Highsmith's source novel while deepening its characters and adding new ones, enriching their relationships, slightly but significantly altering the time frame and investing the whole narrative with subtle but lacerating social observations.
The keystone - and best - picture on the subject to emerge this decade was ``The Player'' (1992), a lacerating allegory of studio amorality that its director, Robert Altman, has since said was much too gentle.
His bullying, quick-tempered Willy sets the tone for the entire production, unleashing a lacerating anger that sweeps us along like a Santa Ana wind.
But expect the majority of those films to be appreciated most by the writers branch, along with the carefully modernized adaptation of Henry James' ``Wings of the Dove'' and Woody Allen's lacerating self-revelation ``Deconstructing Harry.
A lacerating portrait of an awful man (draw your own conclusions about which honeymooning auteur's behavior it's based on), but also Allen's funniest and cleverest psycho-comedy in many a moon.
Definitely the most vulgar and arguably the most lacerating piece of work Allen has ever unleashed, the movie shows us yet again that he possesses depths of pain-wracked perversity we'll never be able to imagine.
That suits Margaret, who daily contends with the lacerating complaints of her mother (Kate Nelligan), who has lost husband and son to the mines; the fragile health of her grandfather (Peter Boretski), who has to be regularly thumped on the back to clear his lungs of coal dust; and the dim prospects for her gifted young brother, Jimmy (Craig Olejnik), whose only future locally would be working in the mines.