Everything is Illuminated
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Holocaust-themed debut was the Chosen Book of 2002, so it’s only natural that Indiewood was licking its lips. How do you make a time-tripping tale of memory and survival go down easy? Apparently, by tearing out its historical heart — faded photographs and brief flashbacks are meager stand-ins for Safran Foer’s bustling shtetl life. The bungled Americanisms (enunciated with gusto by first-timer Hutz) remain intact, and the uncomfortable close-ups and minor-chord melodies (overused as they are) do have some emotional resonance. But Illuminated amounts to a standard road-trip pic with glimmers of wit and wisdom. EXTRAS Wood’s mortician-in-the-making may be a keeper of artifacts, but these bonus features aren’t all that premium. Missing: a commentary exploring neglected aspects of the novel. In abundance: cartoonish rightly deleted scenes. One clip is a ’70s-porn moment between Wood and ”Seeing Eye bitch” Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.; another lumps together Hitler, Mother Teresa, and George Washington — at a funeral. No joke.