Igby Goes Down Movie Review

2002 is the year of Kieran Culkin. After a rock-star performance in the one great film this year that everyone missed -- The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys -- Kieran Culkin delivers another knockout performance as a rebel without a clue or a cause in Igby Goes Down.

Igby Goes Down tells the tale of one boy's rebellion against the 'old money' ways in which he was born. Igby Slocumb (Culkin) lives within a quirky family unit complete with a schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman) - whose last episode earned him a one-way ticket to the funny farm years back, a self-absorbed, Mommie Dearest of a mother (Susan Sarandon), and a repugnant Young Republican reptile of a brother (Ryan Phillippe). His constant attempts at searching out a better life away from his family's stifling dysfunction lead to a number of high school expulsions and an abnormal amount of prescription sedatives for his mother.

After flunking out of yet another prep school, Igby is sent to a Midwest military school. From there, he goes on the lam and lands in New York, where he secretly hides out at his avaricious godfather's (Jeff Goldblum) weekend retreat and hangs out with a deviant cast of characters including his godfather's secret lover (Amanda Peet), the incurably jaded Sookie Sapperstein (Claire Danes), and the rogue artist Russel (Jared Harris). As the world comes crashing down during Igby's spiritual quest, the questions about family, friends, lovers, and enemies come full circle as he keeps himself from "going down" one final time.

Crafted as part character study and part ensemble comedy, Igby Goes Down boasts both deft character development and an intriguing storyline. Unfortunately, the abundance of interesting players orbiting Igby leads to the film falling just short of being one of this year's best movies.

The entire production might better have been broken up into unique storylines encompassing key characters and leading to key revelations about Igby's own path of redemption (see Jesus' Son). Instead, we are only given a few frustrating glimpses into those possible avenues and are left short on the true meaning of the those key people standing along Igby's yellow brick road.

The ensemble cast of Goldblum, Peet, Harris, Danes, Phillippe, Sarandon, and even Pullman (in his five minutes of screen time) all deliver exceptional displays of humanity throughout the spectrum. But despite the standout performances from all parties, a stellar soundtrack full of poignant words and music guiding us along Igby's journey, and steady direction courtesy of first-time director Burr Steers, Igby Goes Down bears a worthy ideology but never conveys a full picture of Igby.

DVD extras include a full-length ocmmentary with director Burr Steves and Culkin, plus deleted scenes and a featurette.

Igby's mom sits down.


Comments

Igby Goes Down Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2002

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations