Detachment

2011

Directed by Tony Kaye – Written by Carl Lund

Starring: Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan and Christina Hendricks

From the director of American History X (1998), Tony Kane, and the writer of nothing, Carl Lund, comes this rather interesting piece that has gotten a fair bit of attention and recognition in the film festival scene. Attention and recognition that is very justified.

There’s a cast you can’t fault with the chops of Adrien Brody, James Caan, Christina Hendricks and Bryan Cranston on show as the highlights. That’s not to say that anybody has put in a bad day of work. I’ll give Brody a second mention; he really is quite outstanding in this performance. And since when can Lucy Liu act?

Kane’s films always tend to have that slither of optimism to lift his work in that annoyingly unrealistic way people tend to want. It’s a real plague of the industry that film makers and audiences seem to think there has to be a moral to the story, or an upside; no matter what there is always a happy ending. Thankfully he has abandoned this stupid trend and let the story dictate the ending rather than ramming the moral in. There is a definite sense of hopelessness that fits perfectly.

As typical with good film, what it’s about and what it’s about are two different things. It’s about the crumbling American education system through the eyes of a substitute teacher; it’s about our society as a whole, hollow politics, dysfunctional families being behind trouble children and it’s about all of us and our need to cope.

The beauty of this film is its honesty. It has no false ideas of itself, it’s not trying to sell you the glamour of Hollywood or carry with it a real message that deserves your attention; no, instead we’re given honesty about life and what to expect from it.

Teachers have given this film a lot of credit, which will give an idea of the truth being told on screen. We all remember the asinine students, sterile and lifeless hallways, the way all the good teachers are censored and the justified feeling of being institutionalised.

And all this stemmed from a writer who has put his pen to the total sum of zero works before this, keep an eye on him.

6/10

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