In the neverending battle of commerce versus art, which will rage on forever in cinema because it has to, cinephiles can take small comfort in the knowledge that smart and talented actors will always eventually gravitate to smart and talented filmmakers because the medium is theirs. And intelligent, thoughtful filmmakers will often, not always, but often be attracted to engaging material. Thus the combination of Michael Fassbender and Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine,” “The Place Beyond The Pines”) is already one that is cause for much excitement in these here Playlist parts.
Last September we heard that Cianfrance had signed on to direct and write an adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s best-selling novel “The Light Between Oceans.” And now THR is reporting that Fassbender, doing a good job of navigating through big fare like the new “X-Men” series and artier fare like his continued relationship with filmmaker Steve McQueen, is in negotiations to play the lead.
Set in the West Coast of Australia around the time of WWI, “The Light Between Oceans” sounds like the typically character-rich morality play that would interest Cianfrance. The story centers on a lighthouse keeper (presumably Fassbender) and his wife and the moral consequences they must face when they find a 2-month-old girl and a dead body in a rowboat, and decide to raise the baby as their own. The blessing soon turns tragic and presumably rips the relationship apart.
Frankly, for us, this is a kind of catnip, especially as we enter the doldrums of the loud and noisy, often empty tentpole spectacle season (at least it’s been like that so far). And yes, this smells like a film festival picture and one with possibly platforming releases, but so what? You can consider our ticket purchased in advance already. No start date is mentioned, but we shall wait patiently.