Though its self-seriousness and artistic style are occasionally off-putting, Tony Kaye’s new drama “Detachment” remains a quietly compelling character study.
The director uses a cheerless temperament to say something significant about the failures of both public education and human behavior. Anchored by an excellent performance from star Adrien Brody, it is an extraordinarily honest motion picture that will encourage you to examine your own emotional hang-ups.
In “Detachment,” which opens today exclusively at Harkins Valley Art, Brody plays a substitute teacher who, drifting from classroom to classroom, finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment. Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Lucy Liu and Tim Blake Nelson also star.
It is almost as if being surrounded by such a tremendously talented supporting cast encouraged Brody to bring his A-game, as “Detachment” features the actor’s best performance since “The Pianist” – a movie that, despite being about Holocaust, is not even half as grim as this one. Yet, the motion picture’s pessimism plays to its advantage, shining a light on the potential listlessness of life.
On the other hand, if one were to say that this flick lacks a sense of humor, it would be an understatement. As a result, the movie’s weight can become too much for the viewer, who may already be annoying by Kaye’s ocasional artistic asides (such as animated chalkboard drawings). However, for the most part, “Detachment” is a remarkably rewarding experience.
“Detachment” (NR – 97 minutes) opens today exclusively at Harkins Valley Art. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.