I promise there is no Pilgrimage-related bias at play here: Erick Zonca’s “Julia” – featuring Tilda Swinton in what I’d wager is one of her best performances – came and went from US theaters with an unfortunate whimper. The film – which stars as a endlessly unlikeable, slutty alcoholic who kidnaps a child and takes him on a nightmarish journey through Mexico. While the film itself is mildly flawed – its overlong more than anything else – its more than worth a viewing for Swinton’s performance alone, which grandly stands apart from anything else she’s done (though, really, which of her performances don’t). As Manohla Dargis put it quite perfectly: “Ms. Swinton demands to be seen even when her character is on a self-annihilating bender so real that you can almost smell the stink rising off her. So I sat in my seat, cursed the screen and was grateful to watch an actress at the height of her expressive power claw toward greatness.”
The film is out on DVD today, so help give “Julia” a second chance at the audience it deserved.