Thursday, April 15, 2010

What You Should Have Seen #11

This movie is a little bit under the radar, and its quality just kind of sneaks up on you. It shouldn’t though. Look at the cast list: Ed Norton, Susan Sarandon, Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou), Ty Burrell (Modern Family), Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men…don’t hold that against her, though), Keri Russell, Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), Richard Dreyfuss and Ed Norton. No, I didn’t mistakenly list him twice. That’s the gimmick of this movie. Norton plays two different characters. It’s kind of awesome.

The movie’s a bit odd in that it seems like two different movies. The first half gives us our quirky premise as well as a somewhat touching look at a guy returning home after a self-imposed exile. The guy escapes what he thinks is a stifling life in a small Oklahoma town outside of Tulsa. I’ve seen the first half of this movie expanded and retold a countless number of times. It’s a bit of a clichéd story.

But the cliché ends in the second half when the movie takes a bit of a dark turn. There’s murder. There’s deception. There’s heartache and tragedy. What could have been a heart-warming little comedy just becomes sad. I don’t know anything about classical philosophy, but I’d like to think that this would parallel something that Bill Kincaid (Norton’s straight-laced character) would have written about or taught in one of his classes.

I liked the movie. The bit in the middle when the tone changed threw me for a bit of a loop, but I still liked it.

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