Friday, October 19, 2012

'Chained' and Jennifer Lynch to be at St. Louis International Film Festival


'Chained'...My Review


I had the opportunity to watch 'Chained' a week or so ago and I started to write a review that was turning into a long and overly detailed deconstruction that left even me bored.  I'll spare you that and just give my overall impressions.  Frankly, I think some people may be experiencing a 'Chained' overload as of late and there have been many reviews already written that have rehashed the film a million times over.

I think the film as a whole was well done although it dragged in some places and in others seemed glossed over or edited.  I wasn't bothered by the ending as I know some were and it actually caught me by surprise.  Sure, maybe more of an explanation would have been more helpful but since Jennifer Lynch has already indicated the same, that seems to be something that would be addressed in a Director's Cut should it ever happen.

I was impressed by the cinematography and hats off to Shane Daly for his execution of creating  an atmosphere of a depressed dimly lit interior of Bob's home in sharp contrast to a sunny outside with captures of unusual cloud formations.  The inside of Bob's house reminded me of going to visit my grandparents home and how dark it always was.  It scared me.  The furniture was dark and it seemed like there was never more than a 25 watt lightbulb in the lamps.  

Equally impressive were the two young actors who played young Rabbit and older Rabbit, Evan  Bird and Eamon Farren, respectively.  Each did an admirable job and held their own opposite an experienced actor like Vincent D'Onofrio.  As the young Rabbit, Evan Bird's expressions and demeanor were spot on and never forced.  And as older Rabbit, Eamon Farren portrayed his character as a young man stripped of his youth yet with a resolve that helped him to survive unspeakable horror.  Both actors were painfully thin to the point I found alarming but lent itself to the conditions their characters lived in and as a result of.  I was secretly hoping they went to McDonald's and had a feast once the filming was complete.

Vincent D'Onofrio.  All in.  He brought it.  Stripped naked mentally and physically, it was his show.  I don't know if anyone could count on one hand any other actors who time and time again attack a role with such courage and commitment.  He WAS Bob.  When a character like Bob, who does such horrendous acts, can also make you feel some compassion is no easy feat.  Vincent successfully did both and it's to Jennifer Lynch's credit to give us a view into the inner workings of a serial killer that but for the grace of God could be you or me.  I didn't think the speech impediment was a necessary addition and at times seemed more pronounced at times than others.  In the flashbacks with young Bob, I didn't notice that he had any problem with his speech but maybe because of the trauma he went through it developed afterwards.  Still, there were other notable characterizations and expressions that more than made up for that distraction.  No one 'gives eyes' better than Vincent D'Onofrio.  That kind of emotion he shows comes from a place that actors only dream of reaching.  You can learn the ABC's of acting but to completely immerse oneself into the character and convey that feeling is something that is a gift.  Vincent D'Onofrio is a gifted actor.

All in all,  I thought it was a successful film save for a couple of things that bothered me.  I didn't think cabs had no meters or posted ID of the cabdriver.  I understand some states and/or regions operate their cabs this way but it seemed strange that the fares just threw money at Bob as if they already knew in advance how much the fare was.  And, when Sarah Fittler (a short but well acted turn by Julia Ormond) tried to use her cellphone, got no signal, yet in the background I saw telephone poles and what looked like an industrial area.  I'd also would be curious to know why Bob's brother (Jake Weber) approached Bob about getting rid of his wife and son.  Did he already know what Bob was doing?  

I was happy that Vincent was awarded 'Best Actor' at Sitges International Film Festival and that the good people of Catalonia recognized and rewarded his talent.  He deserved it for taking on a role that would scare most and not be capable of giving 100%.  We in the United States already knew that, even though he has been passed over for awards and recognition in his homeland.  It's not what he set out to do.  He just wants to act.  And we are the grateful recipients of following the career of someone who gives as much as we get.  Atta boy, Vincent.