Just when you thought that “Mad World”, a song so stunningly emo had been so overused that, surely, somewhere, a film executive had held a metaphorical funeral for the preferred song of all sad movie trailers, it rears its familiar face. Here it is playing over the very self-consciously important trailer for American Pastoral, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
The film, directed by Ewan McGregor, follows the novel’s familiar plotline: Seymour “the Swede” Levov (McGregor), the son of a successful Jewish businessman from New Jersey, follows his father into the glove-making business. He marries Dawn Dwyer, the Irish Catholic Miss New Jersey (Jennifer Connely), and has a daughter, Merry (Dakota Fanning).
The Swede is content in his upper-middle-class life, though the Vietnam War rages around; neither he nor his wife can handle the increasing radical ideas of their daughter. Eventually, Merry plants a bomb at a nearby post office, killing one. But since it’s a Roth novel, the bomb is both material and metaphor, and the Swede spends the remainder of the novel attempting to piece back together his shattered, well, pastoral. No one has ever accused Roth of being subtle.
At any rate, the trailer is very sleek and pretty.