Everything Put Together (2000)--Even though director Marc Forster's Everything Put Together is neither a thriller nor a horror film, there is an undeniable nightmarish quality that permeates throughout. Radha Mitchell stars as Angie, a well-adjusted suburban housewife expecting her first child. But when Angie's newborn son unexpectedly falls victim to SIDS--Sudden Infant Death Syndrome--her world falls apart. Abandoned by her self-obsessed, vapid friends, Angie spirals out of control into a world of depression and denial from which no one can seem to rescue her. Not the sort of film you'd rent on a first date, or watch to feel uplifted and rejuvenated, Everything Put Together is a strangely reminiscent of Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. Both films play on the fears of mothers losing their babies to forces beyond their control. But while Polanski's film exists in the shadowy world of the supernatural, Forster, who also directed the emotionally devastating Monster's Ball, keeps his grounded in the very real world where horrific things happen.
Greenfingers (2000)--The story of the oppressed underdog finding the inner strength to overcome insurmountable odds has been the mainstay of film (not to mention literature) since time began. When it's done right (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), it makes for compelling drama. But when it's done wrong (Karate Kid II), the results are a disastrous mix of melodrama and cliché. The more of these tales of underdogs triumphant that are told, the more we see examples of the latter, rather than stories that motivate us to tap into the superhero that lies dormant within all of us. Greenfingers is one of those rare treats in which we really want to see our hero slay the dragon that threatens his soul. Clive Owen, the underrated actor from Croupier, stars as Colin Briggs, a convicted felon who has spent much of his life behind bars. Broken, bitter and disillusioned, Colin is transferred to an experimental minimum-security prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence. There he meets, and eventually befriends, Fergus Wilks (David Kelly of Waking Ned Devine), a terminally ill lifer who ignites in Colin a passion for gardening. Together the two men, along with three other prisoners, begin to transform the bleak, lifeless prison grounds into a lush and beautiful garden, and in the process they do the same for their own souls.