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Filmism.net Dispatch June 17, 2012

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Trawling through old reviews, I knew this week I had to give a shout out to Canadian actress Sarah Polley (because, you know, I'm sure she reads the Filmism.net Dispatch).

I'm never quite sure what it is about her, but her movies are almost uniformly brilliant. She's by all accounts a fantastic writer/director as well (her 2006 movie Away From Her, which I haven't seen, is highly spoken of), but it's her performances in a host of smart, at-times beautiful independent dramas that will knock you out.

Polley is quite beautiful and very talented, but what's most appealing about her, even when the role doesn't necessarily portray it, is how smart she appears to be. When most actresses are happy to giggle, flick their hair and fight in a skin-tight black leather outfit and call it feminism, Polley can do vulnerable and feminine effortlessly and still seems to be ten times cannier than her peers.

What's also great about her is that she surprises you often. The only down note in her career so far was the well executed but occasionally silly Splice, a sci-fi movie that she was still great in. She's tailor made for awards fodder films, but she doesn't even stick to them. One of the first movies I noticed her in was Doug Liman's Go, about teenagers in pursuit of party drugs and fun.

But watch the heart-breakingly raw My Life Without Me, where she plays a devoted young wife and mother planning for her own imminent death, and I challenge you not to melt a little bit for her.

Then, after a career mostly full of sombre sobriety, she turns up in what's still one of the coolest entries into the zombie juggernaut that's still going on eight years later, Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake.

On top of all that, her back catalogue lists over 30 films.

I got some catching up to do.

I also interviewed director Adam Shankman for his latest musical Rock Of Ages through the week (which you can read here), and while watching Scream 4, I couldn't help but notice the metaphysical knots the franchise is quite happily tying itself up in.

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