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Weight of water - Catherine McCormack, Sarah Polley, Sean Penn, Kathryn Bigelow

Threat advisory: Under evaluation

Movie propaganda

Hell hath no fury...

Jean (Catherine McCormack), a photographer working on a magazine story about the case, and her husband, Thomas (Sean Penn), a troubled poet, view their trip to New Hampshire's picturesque Isles of Shoals, the scene of the crime, as a respite from their ongoing marital problems. But as Jean immerses herself in the details of the murders - an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women - she enters precarious emotional territory.

On her brother-in-law Rich's (Josh Lucas) sail boat, Jean's suspicion that Thomas is having an affair with Adaline (Elizabeth Hurley), Rich's alluring new girlfriend, escalates into jealousy and distrust and sets into motion a series of events with tragic consequences. Blinded by her fear that her husband is being unfaithful, Jean fails to see the more significant flaws in their relationship. Ruled by unpredictable and unreasonable emotions, she is the architect of her own unhappiness. Jean's situation is further complicated by the fact that she finds herself attracted to Rich.

Interwoven with this present-day psychological drama is the period story of the double-murders. In 1873, Anethe (Vinessa Shaw) and Karen (Katrin Cartlidge), both young Norwegian immigrants, were brutally murdered. A third woman, Maren Hontvedt (Sarah Polley), a young immigrant trapped in a loveless marriage and obsessed with a clandestine love affair from her past, survived. Louis Wagner (Ciaran Hinds), a former border at the Hontvedt household, was tried, convicted, and executed for the murders. But Jean discovers documents that suggest he was innocent.

Jean's two obsessions - the murders and her deteriorating marriage - collide in explosive and unexpected ways. During a sudden storm at sea, one that mirrors the tempestuous emotions of the four people on the boat, Jean's explosive feelings of jealousy, frustration, and rage illuminate the terrible truth about the killer and the killings. She has a flash of insight, finally understanding what really happened the night of the murders.

Based on a true story.

Persons of interest

  • Catherine McCormack .... Jean Janes
  • Sean Penn .... Thomas Janes
  • Josh Lucas .... Rich Janes
  • Elizabeth Hurley .... Adaline
  • Sarah Polley .... Maren Hontvent
  • Anders W Berthelsen .... Evan Christensen
  • Katrin Cartlidge .... Karen Christensen
  • Ciarán Hinds .... Louis Wagner
  • Vinessa Shaw .... Anethe Christensen
  • Ulrich Thomsen .... John Hontvedt
  • Anita Shreve .... Author
  • Alice Arlen .... Screenwriter
  • Christopher Kyle .... Screenwriter
  • Kathryn Bigelow .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Disc: Single side, dual layer
  • Languages: English
  • Picture: Widescreen (1.85:1)
  • Subtitles: English, English captions, English closed captions

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level violence)

Surveillance time

113 minutes (1:53 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: Undated 2003
DVD rental: 7 April 2004
VHS rental: 7 April 2004
DVD retail: 15 September 2004

Cinema surveillance images

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