Indignation

"Very Good"

Indignation Review


Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain or this year's American Pastoral), but they're so rich and provocative that they can't be ignored. For his directing debut, writer-producer James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain) adaps this story as a tightly controlled period drama with blackly comical edges and darkly personal emotions.

It's set in 1951 New Jersey, where the young Marcus (Logan Lerman) is preparing to leave home for university in Ohio. His parents (Linda Emond and Danny Burstein) are worried that he will make the same mistakes that are ruining teens' lives across the country at the moment or, even worse, head off to fight in the Korean War. But Marcus is a very serious kid, focussed on making his own decisions about what he wants to do. He certainly wants nothing to do with his crazy roommates (Ben Rosenfield and Philip Ettinger) or the Jewish frat-house, whose leader (Pico Alexander) is desperately trying to recruit him. And then there's the pressure he's getting from the university dean (Tracy Letts). He's much more interested in the enigmatic Olivia (Sarah Gadon), a young woman who constantly surprises him.

Yes, this is essentially a coming-of-age drama about a young man making the shift from his loving family to take control of his own destiny in the big bad world. But it's much more complex than that, as it weaves in political and topical themes. The conversations are riveting, as Marcus' atheistic beliefs provoke everyone he meets. This leads to a stunning centrepiece scene, a blistering 15-minute argument between Marcus and the dean that's like a battlefield set-piece with subtle attacks, bomb blasts and surprising outcomes. Through all of this Schamus maintains the beautifully tailored appearance of the period, when the carefully muted surfaces obscured the churning, world-changing ideas underneath.

Nothing about this film develops as expected, from the plot to the characters themselves. The actors are excellent, with Lerman anchoring the film as the tightly wound young man who overreacts to everyone around him. His scenes with Emond and Gadon are packed with emotional resonance, while his moments with Letts are more cerebral and chilling. But then the entire movie is a bit chilly, centring on the idea that life only gets more complicated and difficult as you get older, which leaves you indignant to those around you. But the dark truth of this is hard to escape. And the performances make it remarkably engaging.

Watch the trailer for Indignation:



Indignation

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 11th August 2016

Box Office USA: $3,399,841.00

Distributed by: Likely Story

Production compaines: Likely Story

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 73 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Rodrigo Teixeira

Starring: as Marcus, as Olivia Hutton, as Dean Caudwell, Ben Rosenfield as Bertram Flusser, as Esther, Margo Kazaryan as Student, Noah Robbins as Marty Ziegler, Doris McCarthy as Church Volunteer, Melanie Blake Roth as Student, Danny Burstein as Sonny Cottler, as Mrs. Greenberg, Joanne Baron as Ron Foxman, Philip Ettinger as Student, Andrew S. Thompson as Young Nurse, Bo Stansell as Mrs. Dadidovich, Susan Varon as Ben, as Anker, Steven Kaplan as History Student, Bryan Fitzgerald as Mo Greenberg, Richard Topol as Sophomore Girl, Betsy Hogg as Miss Clement, Isabel Keating as College Nurse, Rebecca Watson as Family Friend at Shiva & Synagogue, Will MacAdam as Student, Jason Erik Zacek as College Student, Kc Coy as David, Eli Gelb as Dead American Soldier, as Alice, Eliza Foss as Church Matron, Ruth Flaherty as President Wentz, Tom Bair as Dead American Soldier, Sam Rohloff as Man In Synagogue

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