Written by: Sharon Maguire
Starring: Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicholas Gleaves, Sidney Johnston
Losing loved ones to a horrific collective incident comes with the personal brutality of the loss but also a sea of people like yourself trying to get answers when they may not be available just yet. It makes for the pain and mourning to continue as well as everyone else with lost loved ones finding themselves in the same circumstances. Stories with this at their center present an opportunity for sympathy to be displayed but what transpires in this feature defies reason in an inexplicable way resulting in a soulless film with nothing of note to celebrate.
With her family unit intact with a husband and a young son, a young mother (Michelle Williams) begins an extramarital affair with a reporter named Jasper (Ewan McGregor). On an afternoon when she sleeps with him, her son and husband die in a suicide bomb explosion resulting in the deaths of over a thousand. Dismayed by what occurred, she tries to find answers and closure for herself.
Many films come to us with great intentions in trying to tell a good and meaningful story, otherwise what would be the point other than trying to make money? However, as one can expect, the quality can certainly range in what we expect and then receive and not many other films lack the basic competence in telling a story as Incendiary with its overall shoddiness and frankly misguided attempt at going for something deeper within its narrative. It leaves wholly uninteresting characters to follow and a laughable sequence of events surrounding a tragic incident.
The young mother Michelle Williams portrays, who strangely does not receive a name battles with plenty following the death of her husband and son but the amount of guilt rattling through her brain must be on a completely different plane. Imagine losing everyone you love on one occasion and instead of being with them you decide to stay home to have sex with another man. That certainly does a number on the young mother in the feature as it would for anyone else and the grief she encounters takes her down a rabbit hole of some unseemly behavior and others that get downright comedic.
Judging how someone grieves certainly has the appearance of cruelty but the way the film manages the grief of this young mother simply astounds in how she works through emotions. With this being a terrorist attack, she reaches out to the family members of the suicide bombers, which certainly does not go in the direction she would have wanted. All of this happens in the vain of attaining a certain level of closure but when it gets to the point where she begins to write a letter to a specific individual about her pain, it just raises eyebrows at its innate silliness. It almost makes me want to read the book to see if this gets represented in a better manner or if the narrative struggled from being retold in a visual medium.
For what initially promised to be a moving film, it certainly assembled a good cast to bring the story to life. I’m sure they received the promise of this being a worthwhile project but sadly deception led them into this mess of a film. Actors like Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, and Matthew Macfadyen willingly signed up to take part in this story and none of them come out of this unscathed. Williams, granted, truly gives it her all in attempting to salvage such a difficult character given to her but she cannot save what this screenplay provided and the less said of what McGregor and Macfayden receive the better seeing as they were paid dust and truly had to operate an uphill battle as their characters continue to pursue a woman who just lost her husband and son to a terrorist attack.
To be kind, Incendiary enters with good intentions but proves to be a completely misguided mess of a film lacking any heart and soul whatsoever. The aftermath of what occurs and what gets placed on Michelle Williams to do required the work of a miracle maker, not a terrific actor. Everyone here gets saddled with trying to make a laughable story somewhat serious with it operating with important topics but the way it manages to follow through with it leaves plenty to be desired.