All Is Bright ★★

There's not much compelling here, despite the competencies of Giamatti and Rudd. Neither are able to elevate the film beyond the obstacles a weak script, incredibly slow pacing and rough directing impose. The two stars - especially Giamatti - completely carry this film, but being burdened with so much dead weight, we can only expect them to lift it so high.

While the score and sound choices on the technical side leave a great deal to be desired (to say nothing of the bleak cinematography), it's the tone of the entire thing that is the most off-putting. It migrates back and forth between lethargy and off-beat hopefulness but never seems to decide on an approach in telling its story. The final resolution intentionally avoids wrapping everything up neatly, which I think is a brave choice, but it doesn't present much in the way of an emotional connection to affirm itself.

I know how difficult it is to find interesting holiday films that are worth watching annually. This film isn't helping.