Rabbit Hole

Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star in the tense, emotional drama Rabbit Hole.

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Rabbit Hole Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Miles Teller, Dianne Wiest

A world-class cast deliver a sustained blast of emotional intensity in this finely crafted drama, which was adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Kidman and Eckhart play a handsome married couple whose outwardly idyllic lifestyle in New York's leafy upscale suburbs is haunted by the death of their four-year-old son in a traffic accident eight months before. The volatile business of grief and mourning sends shock waves of tension through their marriage, impacting on friends and family alike. Besides co-starring, Kidman also acted as producer on Rabbit Hole.

So it is no surprise that she turns in a beautifully nuanced, multilayered, Oscar-nominated performance. She also plays to her strengths in portraying yet another well-heeled, tightly wound professional woman consumed by agonising loss and family discord - indeed, there are strong echoes here of her roles both in Birth and Margot at the Wedding.

To her credit, Kidman also allows her co-stars the room to explore a similarly broad range, especially Eckhart and Wiest. Previously known for outlandish black comedies, Mitchell directs Rabbit Hole with a chilly austerity that threatens to become overly tasteful at times. But no matter, because powerful performances and crisp dialogue give this story its emotional bite.

A more clichéd indie drama might have seized on this dark material as license to wallow in arty misery, while a typical Hollywood treatment would have favoured sunny redemption and neat resolution. But there is no easy sense of closure here, just a compelling portrait of flawed characters slowly piecing together their shattered lives.