Friday, March 31, 2006


I haven't seen any of Lodge Kerrigan's other films - his other films being Clean, Shaven (1995) and Claire Dolan (1998) - but after watching Keane I am curious to check them out. When I settled into bed last night to watch the latest movie my Netflix queue had spat upon me, I knew next to nothing about Keane - sometimes one wants to be surprised - I just knew that it'd gotten some good reviews.

And to tell the truth, if I had known what the film was about, I probably wouldn't have watched it right then, because I was looking for something a little more sedate. Keane tells the story, in minute detail, of what I would guess - having little to no working knowledge of psychiatry - is a paranoid manic-depressive. So... relaxing? Not so much.

But affecting, and highly so, especially once what little semblance of a story there is kicks in. The first third of the film is pretty difficult and, though I did find it extremely well-acted by lead Damian Lewis, I nearly shut it off several times because nothing happens except we're watching this man behave erratically, sometimes despicably so.

But once we're introduced to the other two characters, a mother and daughter who live down the hall from Keane, the film grabbed on and didn't let go.

I knew the girl, Abagail Breslin, looked familiar, but until I just read it a minute ago it didn't connect that she was the little girl in Signs. Breslin is amazing to watch, and made Keane for me - every moment she was on screen my heart was breaking for her.

Outside the three main performances (the mother is played by Amy Ryan, also very good though not as memorable as the other two), there really isn't much else to say about the film - it's basically a character study with very little plot. We're never really sure what of Keane's story is true, and what his mind has made up as his history, and we watch him try to overcome his problems to connect with this little girl, who may hold redemption for him if he's able to sort it all out.

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