Pfeiffer is powerful, the film dark.
Where is Kyra?
Director: Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George)
Screenplay: Darci Picoult (Mother of George)
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder on the Orient Express), Kiefer Sutherland (Melancholia)
Runtime: 1 hr 36 min
by John DeSando
Where is Kyra? the title asks. Ostensibly she lives in Brooklyn, but her real location, for the purposes of this low-lit, depressing mise en scene, is the interior darkness of a middle-aged, jobless, depressed woman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Aided by Oscar-nominated Bradford Young’s shadowy cinematography, director Andrew Dosunmu crafts a near perfect outward evocation of the spiritual loneliness of a woman who has recently lost her mother.
As her life spirals downward spiritually and financially, Kyra finds some solace in the arms of neighbor Doug (Kiefer Sutherland), a part-time job slacker, who tries as much as he can to comfort her even though he is marginalized by the film’s lighting and proxemics. Kyra is desperately alone in a city that forgets about the aging, like the recurring motif of the elderly lady with the cane.
A light larceny is forcing itself on Kyra, and who can blame her? Her credit cards have maxed out, and the job interviews have led nowhere. Although this is not a real thriller, enough of the noirish urban danger bleeds through to confirm the despair so many down and outers must feel in that unforgiving world on NYC and its burbs.
Pfeiffer should be recognized for her remarkably restrained and deeply-felt role. Unfortunately, writer Darci Picoult has little dialogue for her, and the lighting is the most powerful vehicle for the despair of urban loneliness and poverty, poverty porn if you will.
Where is Kyra? has a European feel in its languor and an American vibe in its class inequality. It’s solid fare for cinephiles and those who need an antidote for their optimism.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com