At the start of Milk and Honey, well-off stockbroker Rick (Clint Jordan) and his wife Joyce (Kirstin Russell) are throwing a party as a means of announcing their return to normalcy. Rick has had some mental problems, and has just gotten out of an institution. Unfortunately, it's painfully clear that he's ill-suited to return to the real world, as an innocuous conversation with a couple of co-workers turns into paranoid accusations. Things spiral further out of control when Rick makes a rambling speech and re-proposes to Joyce, who turns him down in front of the crowd, sparking a massive fight between them that has their guests scurrying for the door. Rick soon follows them out, smoldering with resentment.
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Miles away from what we critics enjoy referring to as "visually austere" (i.e., static shots with careful compositions), The Book of Life throws caution to the wind. Working with new cinematographer Jim Denault (Boys Don't Cry) instead of old standby Michael Spiller (Trust), Hartley spins and fusses in colorful blurred abstractions, creating a dreamy, impressionistic look with none of his trademark hard edges. Look, ma -- no hands!
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Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.