Owen Gleiberman
January 08, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Morvern Callar

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
97 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/20/02
performer
Samantha Morton, Raife Patrick Burchell, Dan Cadan, Kathleen McDermott
director
Lynne Ramsay
distributor
Cowboy Pictures
author
Liana Dognini, Lynne Ramsay
genre
Drama

We gave it a B-

A movie’s refusal to judge bad behavior can be a subtle way of trumping the audience — a passive-aggressive form of one-upmanship. The title character of Morvern Callar is a disaffected Scottish supermarket stacker, played by Samantha Morton (returning, after ”Minority Report,” to her neorealist funk), who wakes up one Christmas morning to learn that her boyfriend has killed himself. Rather than report the suicide, she gets rid of his body, grabs his cash card, places her name on the manuscript of his novel, and heads for a hotel in sunny Spain.

The director, Lynne Ramsey, works in the tony austere style of Catherine Breillat and Claire Denis. She creates a mood of swank amorality, glorifying Morvern without ever quite penetrating her blank facade, the void filled only by a great soundtrack and the oblique suggestion that getting away with it is a punkette’s prerogative in a man’s cruel world.

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