As we approach the Easter Weekend, it is a time to pause and reflect upon the spirit. Regardless of belief, individuals spend their lives seeking redemption, usually from harming another individual. Some people are taught to forgive, some forgive and do not forget. The common denominator is regardless of social status, one is always seeking salvation. **The Yellow Handkerchief** features three characters in search of salvation in a state seeking redemption from Hurricane Katrina.
Brett Hanson (William Hurt) is an ex-convict, released from prison after serving six years for manslaughter. Drifting into a whistle stop café, Hanson meets Martine (Kristen Stewart), a teen age ballerina from a dysfunctional family. Hanson and Martine bum a ride off Gordy (Eddie Redmayne), a dorky dude who may or may not be from an Indian reservation.
As the two travel towards New Orleans, they encounter ghost towns that have been evacuated from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. While Martine and Gordy bicker like two siblings trapped in the back seat of a car, Hanson must confront the ghosts of his painful past. Beyond doing penance for his manslaughter trial, Hanson must come to gripes with his relationship with May (Maria Bello), the woman he left behind.
**The Yellow Handkerchief** is a visual poem with a narrative thrown in. On the big screen, the Louisiana landscapes have never looked better under the cinematography of Chris Menges. The sunsets, the sunrises, the displaced moss and magnolias express the internal conflicts of the four main characters. Director Udayan Prasad takes full advantage of the scenery and meshes it with the actor’s performance.
To Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s credit, these two actors have been involved with fascinating projects outside of their **Twilight** movies. Filmed three years ago, Stewart portrays Martine as a total innocent, she is not aware of how provocative she is being when she is practicing her barre routine in front of a teen age boy and an ex con.
If one had not lived in the deep south, one would think that Eddie Redmayne’s Gordy character as a bit over the top. Yet Gordy is a complex character and Redmayene lets the audience learn this. With the least amount of screen time, Maria Bello manages to raise the question, is she a victim or a predator?
The success of **The Yellow Handkerchief** sits on William Hurt’s shoulders. An articulate actor, Hurt speaks more by saying less. Brett Hanson is a physical man and Hurt does a fantastic job revealing the character’s pain and joy. There is a subtle payoff to the visual acting and action that makes **The Yellow Handkerchief** a very special movie for this Easter weekend.
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