A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Alan Johnson has everything he needs to get through life: a good job, a beautiful and loving wife, and their wonderful children. Yet he feels isolated because he finds having a hard-working job and managing a family too much to handle and has no one to talk to about it. Charlie Fineman, on the other hand, doesn't have a job or a family. He used to have both until a terrible loss, and the grief caused him to quit his job and isolate himself from everyone around him. As it turns out, Alan and Charlie were roommates in college, and a chance encounter one night rekindles the friendship they shared. But when Charlie's problems become too much to deal with, Alan is determined to help Charlie come out of his emotional abyss. Written by
Greetings again from the darkness. How rare it is for a film to examine the lost soul of men in pain. Adam Sandler stars as Charlie, a man who lost his family in the 9/11 tragedy, and has since lost his career, his reason to live and arguably, his sanity. Don Cheadle co-stars as Sandler's former Dental School roommate who appears to have the perfect life (that Sandler apparently had prior to 9/11).
Of course the parallels in these men's lives are obvious, but it is actually refreshing to see men's feelings on display in a movie ... feelings other than lust and revenge, that is. Watching how they actually help each other by just being there is painful and heartfelt. Writer/Director Mike Binder ("The Upside of Anger", and Sandler's accountant in this film) really brings a different look and feel to the film. Some of the scenes don't work as well as others, but overall it is well written and solidly directed.
Sandler and Cheadle are both excellent. Sandler's character reminds a bit of his fine performance in "Punch Drunk Love", but here he brings much more depth. Cheadle is always fine and does a nice job of expressing the burden he carries ... just by watching him work a jigsaw puzzle.
Support work is excellent by Jada Pinkett Smith (as Cheadle's wife), Liv Tyler (as a very patient psychiatrist), Saffron Burrows (in an oddly appealing role), Donald Sutherland as an irritated judge and Melinda Dillon and Robert Klein as Sandler's in-laws.
The film really touches on how the tragic events of that day affected one man so deeply that he is basically ruined. In addition to the interesting story and some great shots of NYC, you have to love any film that features vocals from Chrissy Hynde, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Daltrey ... as well as Eddie Vedder impersonating Daltrey. Not exactly a chipper upbeat film, but it is a quality film with an unusual story.
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