October 19, 2006

Quickie review: Keane

Reviewer: Craig Phillips
Rating (out of 5): ***½

Keane stars Damian Lewis, most famous here previously for his portrayal of the earnest American captain in the WWII series Band of Brothers (he's actually British). Lewis gives an absolutely brilliant, wrenching performance as a man desperately searching for his missing daughter - or does she exist at all? Director Lodge Kerrigan, who also explored madness in his first feature, the memorable Clean, Shaven (just out on DVD from Criterion), and the filmmaker is in full command of his craft here, using a single camera for street-level, first person immediacy. And because of this, be forewarned: it's a challenge to at first stick with it through Keane's disturbed babblings while he wanders through New York. But as the film unfolds, and Keane befriends a similiarly down-and-out mother (played by The Wire's Amy Ryan) and daughter, it slyly works its way in surprisingly heartrending fashion, while never failing to keep things emotionally true. Cassavetes would be proud. Textbook stuff, in more ways than one.

Would make a good double-feature with the new doc Unknown White Male and especially, of course, Clean, Shaven.

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Posted by cphillips at October 19, 2006 12:19 PM