Detachment

"OK"

Detachment Review


An almost overpowering sense of hopelessness makes this education-system drama difficult to watch. Fortunately, it's directed and acted with enough sensitivity to stir our sympathies. Although we're not sure we want to go wherever this bleak story might be heading.

Henry (Brody) takes a month-long assignment teaching at a tough school run by beleaguered principal Carol (Harden). Unflappable in the face of the unruly students, he calmly tries to get through to the teens. He clicks with fellow teacher Sarah (Hendricks). As a substitute, Henry's job is to maintain order, which seems like an impossible challenge. So he instead reaches out to a teen hooker (Gayle), thinking he might actually be able to make a difference in her life. But he can't help but wonder if he's doing more harm than good.

Despite its plaintive, introspective tone, this film heavy-handedly rants about an education system that has failed both children and teachers. The teachers all seem on the edge, worn down by constant abuse from out-of-control students and parents who blame their own failings on the school. So it's chilling to watch Henry's inner rage boil over in other settings, lashing out at anyone who slacks off in his or her job.

Kaye vividly portrays the teachers' powerlessness. The school shrink (Liu) faces mind-boggling issues, while the stand-in dean (Caan) shrugs helplessly in the face of disrespect. Clearly, screenwriter Lund's targets are parents who shirk their responsibility to guide their children into becoming useful members of society. And then there are politicians who have no interest in helping anyone but themselves, stressing mindless test scores over actual education.

The film opens with a quote from Albert Camus, "And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world." Punctuated with chalkboard-style animation and an overpowering sense of decay, the story takes harrowing turns that feel a bit pushy, piling on wrenching emotions along with a general sense of desperation, as if America is heading for an apocalypse. This might be true, but the film feels as if it's saying that it's impossible to change a broken system.



Detachment

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st February 2012

Box Office USA: $70.9k

Distributed by: Tribeca Films

Production compaines: Kingsgate Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 38 Rotten: 29

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Bingo Gubelmann, Benji Kohn, Carl Lund, Chris Papavasiliou, , Austin Stark

Starring: as Henry Barthes, as Principal Carol Dearden, as Mr. Charles Seaboldt, as Ms. Sarah Madison, as Dr. Parker, as Ms. Perkins, as Mr. Wiatt, as Mr. Sarge Kepler, as Richard Dearden, as Erica, Celia Au as Ellen (as Sze Ming Au), as Grampa, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as Mr. Mathias, as Ms. Estrada

Also starring:


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement