Soon, we’re introduced to the guests as they file in, staggered so that we may have a complete and thorough examination of their character. Each congratulates Janet for a political accomplishment of some sort. Whatever the reason, and this is never quite made clear, this has all been a sophisticated setup to keep you restless and itching to find out the consequences as to why a celebration over a political win leads to a weapon being drawn.
Cherry Jones with her gravelly voice and unimposing self-assurance, is a strong presence in the film, playing Martha, married to the younger Jinny (Emily Mortimer) who is with child… with children. Martha, who came for a bash, now faces the biggest decision of her life.
The very memorable character, April, is played by Patricia Clarkson, who gets to somewhat portray the comic relief for the film but also carries the weight of being a more stereotypical female. Bitchy and ruthless, she attacks her beau Gottfried (Ganz) but she doesn’t discriminate, never holding her tongue. You can tell Clarkson has fun with the role getting to point out everyone’s flaws without regret.
Tom, played by the charismatic Cillian Murphy, walks in agitated and frantic about a deed he must carry out. When you learn why he’s there, you’ll wonder how he kept it together for so long. Murphy’s performance is aggressive and potent, however, I would have liked to have seen more of him.