The Sundance Film festival is a place to take risks, just like at the craps table. This year’s festival included plenty of films featuring big-name Hollywood stars, but not all of them succeeded in creating unique and memorable films. Here are a few of those star-powered films and how they fared at Sundance.
Don Jon’s Addiction. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in his own directorial debut playing a pornography-addicted Jersey shore stereotype who needs to decide once and for all which is better: fantasy or reality. Though Gordon-Levitt displays some interesting directorial chops and plays his slime ball character quite convincingly, the story’s over-simplified, predictable resolution leaves something to be desired.
Mud. Matthew McConaughey continues his recent streak of outstanding films in this Arkansas coming of age tale. It’s hard to believe this actor was once pigeonholed as a rom-com lead as he gives another nuanced performance here, mixing caution and charisma as he charms two young boys into helping him evade the law and reunite with his lover (played by Reese Witherspoon). This film may be a bit long and meandering, but the music, cinematography, and characters can justify the length.
The East. This thoughtful and provocative spy thriller comes from Sundance stars Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, who starred and directed (respectively) in previous Sundance sensation, Sound of My Voice. If this second film is any indication, these two are set to become household names just like another indie favorite, Ellen Page, who also happens to be in this film. Full of twists and turns, The East also has a solid storyline with a satisfying ending and not too many leaps of faith required.