Mary Francis Budig
Denis Leary (Bill)
Hope Davis (Ann)
J.C. MacKenzie (Todd)
Jim Gaffigan (Dayton)
Jim Hornyak (Orderly)
Maureen Anderman (Supervisor)
Marin Hinkle (Sherry)
Madison Arnold (Bill's Father)
Caroline Kava (Bill's Mother)
Bruce McIntosh (Edward)
mpaa rating: R
release: December 7,
availability: VHS -
Is Denis Leary a delusional
mental patient, or are his delusions real?
So? Is he,
or are they?
Gotta pull a Brittany Murphy
there. Which doesn't leave me much to talk about.
about what you can talk about.
Denis Leary is Bill, who's
either a screw-up or a rich blues guitarist (or maybe both).
He wakes up in a hospital room, where psychiatric counselor Ann
(Hope Davis) tries to get him to remember details of the day
he was found near his totalled truck in a quarry.
a two-character play, then?
There are supporting roles
and flashback scenes, but, yeah, it's essentially an actors'
workshop between Leary and Davis.
I take it
this is one of Denis' I-can-do-drama roles.
Yes, and he can do drama.
There's hardly a whisper of his ranting stage persona in the
confused, adrift, rambling Bill. He uses his hostile energy for
moments of frustration, and he gives Bill a quick and sardonic
wit, but much of his work here is desperately sad and touching.
Bill thinks he's been unfrozen out of a cryogenic state in order
to be executed by the government. If he's wrong, that's depressing.
If he's right, that's depressing.
Not a barrel
of laughs, this movie?
You wanna see funny Denis,
look up either of his concert films directed by his late friend
Ted Demme. As it is, Leary's acerbic, no-bullshit demeanor cancels
out a lot of what might've been mawkish and manipulative in Bruce
McIntosh's script. It's the kind of tiny movie -- and ambiguous
role -- Kevin Spacey used to do before winning two Oscars and
apparently entering his "We Are the World" phase.
hasn't been given much of interest to do since becoming an indie
actress to watch a few years ago. Is this movie part of a turnaround
It would be if more people
saw it; she needs a juicy, uncompromising role in a big movie
before she breaks through. But here, as the businesslike therapist
who struggles with her own growing affection for Bill, Davis
does a lot with microscopic inflections and shifts in emotion.
It's a useful actor's gambit -- to play a person who holds herself
in but occasionally shows you flashes of what's being held in.
You do have to give it the
benefit of the doubt for, I'd say, the first half hour or so.
Director Campbell Scott goes in for lots of poetic, moody images
before settling into the sterility of Bill's surroundings. Most
of the film is unavoidably visually dull, but Scott does what
he can, mainly by focusing on the two leads.
get a bit of deja-vu from the film as it progressed?
I did indeed. Anyone familiar
with the books of Robert Cormier -- particularly I Am the
Cheese -- will feel right at home with the paranoid, depressive
tone here. It does very often feel like a Cormier book
for adults, or at the very least a Twilight Zone episode
played at a crawl.
sounding like you're giving this the highest recommendation.
I liked it for what it was
-- a small indie film headlining two fine actors. It's not something
I can imagine watching in a theater -- it loses nothing on the
small screen (and loses nothing by not being letterboxed; the
DVD is framed at 1.85, but Scott doesn't exactly make full use
of the rectangle), and you may want to get up a couple of times
to check your email or otherwise recharge your batteries. So:
worth it for Leary fans who want to see him stretch a bit, or
Davis fans who know she can do better than Hearts
in Atlantis. But: not a happy-time Saturday-night rental.