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Elegant characterisation
david-51609 December 2009
An elegant study in character and the use of subtle good vs evil interplay in the presentation of a character to an audience. Caleb, the character in question, is the true focus of the movie, though the camera dwells lovingly on the beautiful Emma ("a dark angel, does your sister dye her hair black like that? It's very flattering") for obvious reasons.

Our feelings for Caleb shift constantly from bemusement, to loathing, to admiration to astonishment, but the balance is always cleverly maintained in his favour (juxtaposed by a less than flattering portrayal of his brother as the prudish 'republican') and with the climax of the film, despite his often atrocious behaviour, Caleb is the lovable anti-hero. We find ourselves, against our better judgement, rooting for him.

Kreiger has created one of the most memorable personalities in a modern film - a true train wreck of a character and one you will not forget in a hurry - and a masterclass in independent film making. Forget Paranormal Activity. Here is a budget movie worthy of the indie tag and your attention.
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A smart, small cast, ensemble movie, engrossing once you let it hook you.
secondtake18 October 2010
The Vicious Kind (2009)

This sneaks up on you. At first you can't believe how awful the older brother is, mean and acerbic, but he's strangely perceptive and quick, too. Played by Adam Scott, he's really a wonder to watch, and he makes the movie. The other three main characters end up being strong but supporting roles, making for a great small ensemble performance. And they have a curious, not spectacular, but nuanced plot. It's filled with little clichés we are sure we've seen before, but it all has an odd arc to it, and a cutting, believable edge, and it takes on a life of its own.

This is only director Lee Toland Krieger's second film, and it shows a kind of deft handling of young people's problems that is precocious, and promising. Adam Scott has been knocking about for fifteen years, and has crossed paths with some of the best (he has been in some quality t.v. like "Six Feet Under," and was a secondary character in "The Aviator" among many others). The father in "The Vicious Kind," a pivotal character in explaining the motives behind the two sons, is that strong character actor, J.K. Simmons, who has trouble shedding his previous roles (including a more comic version of the same thing in "Juno").

A whole greater than the sum of its parts. Captivating. Not to be underestimated.
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A redemptive sojourn over potentially familiar ground
propast7 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The indies about dysfunctional families are many in number but tend to be low in quality. It's a subgenre that lends itself to tired cliché, poor comedy, and over-the-top preciosity. The Vicious Kind throws all that bunk out the window and commits 100% to its tropes – this is not a family where everybody gets along at the end of the day and we're just there to laugh and feel good about ourselves. The father is not a goofy slacker, but a deeply troubled, unfaithful man. The older brother doesn't resent his younger sibling, he actively betrays him. He's not on uneasy terms with his father, he's altogether estranged. The mother isn't the passive observer trying to keep it together; she died many years ago. This is still a comedy, but a very dark one.

On a more specific level, the film is about Caleb, an embittered misogynist with a fervent belief that "all women are whores". While giving his brother and his new girlfriend a drive home for Thanksgiving, he develops a peculiar set of feelings for her – she so resembles his ex, who two-timed him… twice. On the one hand, he repeatedly warns her not to cheat on his brother. On the other, he can't quite leave her alone. Only after seeing her can he get some sleep; an insomniac, he seems to be hurtling toward self-destruction, his actions erratic. He says awful things and then apologizes for them sincerely. He gets into fights and treats people like dirt. He's the archetypal anti-hero, a chain-smoking, unhappy construction worker. One wonders why he ended up where he is, because he's clearly an intelligent man.

The other segment of the film deals with his relationship with his father, long ago foiled when a rift formed between him and his wife. The first time Donald sees Caleb in eight years, he threatens to shoot him. Their arc, however, much like every one in this film, is ultimately cathartic.

Caleb is so certain of every woman's innate unfaithfulness, he assumes it of Emma as soon as he meets her. It's only after the deed is done and he gives in to his baser urges that he realizes that he himself is the facilitator, the cause. His theories on women are certainly reinforced by her actions, but only because of him. He is the cause of everything he hates, and it forces him to reevaluate his perspective and maybe, finally, lay his past to rest.

It's a humble plot, but Krieger's confident direction and zipline editing that never allows for us to lose sight of Caleb's desperation keeps the story from ever growing stale. Of course, the true reason it works so well is the acting; this is one of the year's finest ensembles.

Brittany Snow plays the kind of character who can easily become forgettable or two-dimensional, but keeps a kind of earthy realism to her characterization. It's a subtle performance, one easily passed over, but her image of repression and conflicting desire sticks in the memory after the film is long over.

Now, J.K. Simmons – here is an actor who needs a big, juicy role in a big, juicy film, because he so clearly has the potential to win an Oscar. He's played the father figure before, but here, sporting a light New York drawl (or some similar accent, so subtle I can't quite place it), he paints the portrait of a sad, regretful old man trying to cling to scraps of his youth and keep his sons on his side along the way. Caleb's betrayal hit him hard.

Adam Scott's is a performance that was not what I was expecting. Caleb is the role many would kill for, a mess of a man, bitter, angry, miserable in turn, jaded with the world. He wears a shell of cynicism and brusque rudeness five inches thick, and then suddenly lets it melt and shows something of the wounded creature he hides within. He has a few scenes that are devastating in their honesty – and then turns around and delivers the clever barbs the script gives him with easy aplomb.

With that whip-smart dialogue never impeding the film's sincerity and a wonderful ensemble, The Vicious Kind packs an emotional punch that most films of its sort lack.
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Interesting and compelling
Siamois14 February 2010
The premise of this movie seemed interesting enough for me to give it a try. The story revolves around Caleb, a misogynist construction worker in a small town. His younger brother Peter just got his first "serious" girlfriend, which he is bringing for Thanksgiving to their dad's.

Adam Scott was an unknown to me but is absolutely amazing in the role of Caleb. He conveys all the suffering in this character on the inside, with all the aggressiveness on the outside. Caleb is fueled by hatred and negativity but the writing and direction of Lee Toland Krieger, and the performance by Scott suggest that if this hatred is explicitly directed at others, it is implicitly self-hatred.

Caleb is estranged from his father for reasons we learn about through the movie and his relationship with his naive brother is uneasy at best. The gap separating them is the very different outlook they have on life and love. Peter is more of an idealist while Caleb is on the slippery slope of fatalism.

Neither of them seems to be able to see the complete picture and their father Donald Sinclaire might have something to do with this. Donald is the prototypical dad figure. Doesn't talk much and prefers to address superficialities when he does. A scene that particularly highlight this is a dinner scene between him, Peter and his girlfriend Emma. While Donald can't stop complimenting Emma on her looks, Peter at some point shifts to her academic background, which seems to put the father outside his comfort zone. Veteran actor J.K. Simmons puts another great performance as the father, a great casting choice.

The last piece of the puzzle is the outsider who crashes in this family at such a critical point. Emma is Peter's new girlfriend and while it would have been easy to make this character little more than a plot device, she has several interesting layers to her. What we know from the start about her is that she is smart, polite, beautiful and herself comes from a less than perfect family (there is talk of alcoholism). More importantly perhaps, she dumped someone for Peter, which further fuels Caleb's belief that "all women are whores" as he likes to say. I had no idea who Brittany Snow was but I was blown away by her performance as Emma. Looking at her credit list afterwards, I would never have expected that.

The story mixes all the things you'd expect from an indie. Humor (mostly dark) is there, the main characters are quirky and the peripheral characters even more so. The camera-work, editing and music all ooze of this "indie feel". If anything, this hurts this heartfelt film more than it helps. Lee Toland Krieger obviously wrote a great and heartfelt story but there,s this sense that he has watched a lot of film festival darlings and well... it's just not terribly original in presentation and at times, feels formulaic.

The only other negative aspect would be the character of Peter. Naive and idealistic does not mean a character should be bland. Likewise, actor Alex Frost is unremarkable in this role.

All in all, this is a fine film and with Caleb Sinclaire, we have been given a misogynist character that almost rivals Roger Swanson (from the cult classic Roger Dodger). I just hope that in the future, Lee Toland Krieger will find his own voice and style when making movies as opposed to shooting it "like other indies".
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Good movie!
haabibkiller6 December 2009
In a lot of ways this feels like a some what darker version of Dan In Real life. Caleb (Adam Scott) picks up his little brother Peter (Alex Frost) and his new girlfriend Emma (Brittany Snow) for Thanksgiving. It becomes clear that Caleb is dealing with some raging emotional issues. About his ex-girlfriend and his dad Donald (J.K. Simmons)who tends to have issues of his own. Caleb starts to grow infatuated with Emma to the point of almost breaking sanity.

I"m not going to spoil the film so I am going to keep my feelings short. By no means is the story original,but the acting was good enough to enjoy it. I think Adam Scott played his role well. As well as Brittany . Got to give it up for J.K. Simmons! That guy rocks at playing dad's . The weakest acted role in my opinion was by Alex Frost. Not saying it was bad! Just not as strong as the others. He played a great bully in Drillbit Taylor though ill give him that.

I give it an 8 out of 10! Simply because of the acting, and starring at Brittany for an hour and a half wasn't so bad either...Shes Gorgeous!
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Inevitable for the passionate ones
zeppelin-fest20 January 2012
During a star-free night at an already emptied drive-in theatre, this film made my heart burn. This very last screening of a winter's night did not attract an audience but one sole viewer. And if you have an understanding of passion and pain you might not even be comforted by a crowd. You might prefer solitude while watching cinematic characters fight and love.

There are no exceptional techniques, there is no dazzling style. Visually the film holds back. As a result one character can step forward. Only this person seems to inhabit the film's universe and this could be considered a drop of bitterness.

However, this one person is able to entertain without the necessity of applause. He embodies the passionate being who bites back after being wounded. It is easy to fall for the broken one as long as you believe that there is a chance to heal. He is explosive. His hatred is an exceptional passion in disguise. In a universe of flat personalities he stands out. He cares too much, he loves too much and he cannot stop being passionate about every single soul. As a result, his viciousness is not inspiring hate but love from us and from them. We and everyone else are attracted because he is so full of what everyone else seems to lack.

The film presents us a world where people are not grown-up emotionally. Passions are rare and feared. In this universe people do not easily possess passionate love. Only the protagonist seems to own it but he also seems unable to handle it. Still, he is able to inspire another person, maybe even the audience to love him back. We learn that pain and love do not end, but jump like a virus from person to person. Love stories repeat themselves.

Passion is portrayed as a very dangerous form of love, one which easily feeds into a vicious cycle of being hurt and of hurting in return. But whether or not you can handle the pain and the guilt, for the passionate ones it seems inevitable to fall for it at least once in their lives.
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This movie is one of the best surprises in the last years!
mikealike30 August 2010
This felt like a breeze of fresh air, and it ambushes the viewer in a very good way. Taking place in a cold small town, I tended to put it on a strange "cold-far-away-god forgotten postmodern scenery" shelf, strange because this shelf contains Lost in translation, The girl in the café, Gigantic, Twilight and other seemingly unrelated movies. But The Vicious Kind is by far the most alive and vigorous movie out of these, in which the characters seem to be living very sincerely and intense, even against their own will. The humor is also genial, and the tenderness/passion that the love (or simply sex) story inspires is also an unexpected surprise. Loved this movie. The way one would appreciate a hot and tasty meal in a cold winter's day, after a mouthful of cold cucumber soup that the more pretend to be classy movies often serve. and i imagine the main character ended up to be Sully Sullivan from Nobody's Fool, the 1994 movie, played by Paul Newman.
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Strong story about weak people
torrentstorm8 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with the prior poster on this movie's pros: good acting - all characters did well. But, as is the nature of these stories, you are looking at weak, selfish people, who cannot seem to control their emotions, even if at the cost of ruining another person's life.

Such is the story of Caleb. As the elder brother. I couldn't help but notice the contradiction in his misogynistic attitudes towards women at the beginning, only to behave contrary wise towards the younger brother's girlfriend. She, as "all other women, mother included", are "whores". Yet the girl, knowing full well the outcome, could not resist Caleb's advances, because she was not getting good enough sex from the younger Peter. Caleb had already labeled her a whore more than once; so was he right? Such infatuation with her could hardly be healthy.

So now the question: what exactly was gained, other than ruining the lives of two people who, markedly, would not be able to handle the resulting blow from such selfishness? I'm still thinking of the lessons this movie attempts to prove, and I must say it delivered with brutal honesty.

Worth viewing by mature people.
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Misogynistic Drivel
ikeybabe29 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I was really thrown by the description that this film is a dark "comedy." There is absolutely nothing funny about it. And upon reading the reviews, I think there is a real split between men and women. I don't see how a woman would enjoy this and give it a good rating. The main character - Caleb - is so misogynistic it is disgusting. And after calling all beings with vaginas skanks who will f*** you over and then to have the only female character *SPOILER* become exactly that was not good. There was nothing redeeming about Caleb. Obsessed or not, a person with any decency wouldn't *SPOILER* screw his brother's girlfriend. And yep, I get the whole contradiction that he condemned his dad for his cheating and then did something just as deplorable. But, making this woman the catalyst for Donald and Caleb to reunite, is pretty despicable. I was waiting for Caleb to become a good person. That didn't happen. I was waiting for the girlfriend to outright reject Caleb or at least tell her boyfriend what an ass for a brother he has and that didn't happen either. I gave the movie 2 stars because I have definitely seen worse movies, but I can't deny Adam Scott acted his butt off. He was totally believable. This is a dude who does a lot of comedy. He really showed his versatility here.
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Yep...guy writer
wingedheartart17 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
After a few minutes of this film....not knowing anything about who directed it, who wrote it or what it was about..going in completely "blind" ....I guessed it was written by a guy. And, was.

I'm so tired of movies where women characters are written this with the Brittany Snow character. I don't know too many girls/women etc. that would find a man attractive, almost a stranger they've known them such a short time, after he talks to her like she is a complete idiot and calls her almost every horrible name in the book, then is physically threatening. COME ON!!! What is that saying to young women out there? Look hot, be shallow and it doesn't matter if a guy is clean/gross/smokes/is abusive, you are going to find that guy SO irresistible in a few hours that you will want to give your virginity to him in a room down the hall from a guy who LOVES you and treats you like a queen.

BULLLLLLLLLL. While there are some women of all ages who might do this on a rare occasion....a woman who is intelligent, has a shred of self worth is NOT going to do this.

Not only is the Caleb character a complete jerk, he has no qualities that stand out that make you want to care about him. We ALL have bad things in our lives and history. Parents split up, have affairs, dogs get run over, crazy stalker ex's and more....but his character was written without a smidge of any likability. Why in the world would ANYONE but a woman he has paid, WANT to have sex with him. He wasn't even somewhat likable until almost the last few seconds of the movie.

How about a non-confused woman, who not only DOESN'T have sex with the loser brother, but refuses to get in the truck after his behavior at the beginning of the trip? We may not have had a movie or story after that, but that sounds like a good idea to me.

Grow up to the boys/men on here calling women whores..... no one wants to love a mouth that says EVERY woman is a whore JUST because she is female. How narrow minded is that? And so angry.


Maybe someone else will adore this movie, but if they do....try to keep in mind it is JUST a movie and not only are women not all whores, not all fathers are adulterous jerks and sons/brothers smoking, abusive stalkers.

Or I hope not.
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Quintessential indie tale of dysfunctional family and misogynist's road to redemption
Turfseer14 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
For those who enjoy quintessential indie films about dysfunctional families, you might want to give 'The Vicious Kind' a nice peek. The film's protagonist is Caleb, who has become a full-blown misogynist after being dumped by another girlfriend. Caleb is one step away from being a stalker and maybe a couple more steps away from becoming a serial killer. When we first meet him, he's picking his brother Peter up at school and driving him to see their father who he hasn't talked to in eight years. He's not afraid to express to his brother, his deeply held conviction that all women are "whores". In a flashback, we see Caleb leaving some photos he took of his girlfriend while having sex together, under her door and driving away.

On the way to the family home, Caleb and Peter pick up Peter's new girlfriend, Emma. True to form, Caleb acts boorishly towards Emma who's puzzled why he's so hostile. Caleb leaves Peter and Emma at the entrance to the driveway since he doesn't want to run into his father. Father Donald is almost as boorish as Caleb; he makes inappropriate comments to Emma laced with sexual innuendo at the dinner table. Peter passively rebukes the father who doesn't seem to take any hints.

Caleb soon becomes fixated on Emma in a love-hate sort of way. In their first encounter alone at a supermarket, Caleb chokes Emma and threatens to kill her if she does anything to 'hurt' his brother. Outside, Caleb collects himself and apologizes to Emma, who answers by slugging him in the face. Some time later, Caleb confuses Emma by showing a more sensitive side (they share a cigarette together on the porch at night while Peter and their father are inside sleeping).

But Caleb can't suppress his fixation on Emma. He shows up with a camera hiding in the woods and the father mistakes him for a raccoon and almost shoots him with a rifle. Soon we learn that it's not only the fact that Caleb has been rejected by women that accounts for his extreme emotional problems. It seems that after their mother had an affair with another man years ago, she left Donald and he then prevented her from seeing the children (the father's story is that the mother chose not to see the kids). Caleb knows about his father's dishonesty but never told Peter who was 12 years old at the time. Caleb was the only family member to see the mother when she was dying of cancer and that's the reason why he and his father hadn't talked to one another for eight years.

Caleb continues the pattern of showing his contempt for Emma and then apologizing. This goes on until the night Emma accidentally locks herself out of the family home and asks Caleb to help get back in. He knows a way of jimmying the window on the side of the house; as they enter through the window, they end up tripping and Caleb falls on top of Emma. Here is the moment when you think Emma is going to give in to Caleb but instead she tells him she never wants to see him again.

Her intense dislike for Caleb melts when Peter turns out to be hopeless in bed as he is an inexperienced virgin. Caleb can't resist coming over to the house one more time and this time he hits pay dirt. After masturbating continuously, Emma is desperate for sex and finally cannot deny she's been attracted to Caleb all along. The bad boy triumphs and they have some very good sex together. Donald catches Caleb outside the room where Emma is collecting herself and threatens to tell Peter that Caleb has been having sex with his girlfriend. Caleb turns the tables on his father and threatens to tell Peter that he kept them from their mother when they young. An uneasy truce unfolds.

The denouement holds some redemption for Caleb who reconciles with his father. Donald is also able to 'open up' as he tells Peter that he made mistakes in the past but essentially loves him. The damage however is done for Peter and Emma's relationship; on the way back to school, Peter whispers in Emma's ear that he loves her. Emma can only stare straight ahead with a tiny tear dripping down her face—she knows that she can never go for a wimpy guy like Peter, especially after she's had such a good time with his bad boy brother.

'The Vicious Kind' has one major defect: the undeveloped and essentially bland portrait of brother Peter. Where the rest of the ensemble, Caleb, Emma and Donald, are all engaging characters, we find out little about Peter. Why for example is Emma even attracted to him in the first place? And why he is so passive in the face of the boorish behaviors of his brother and father? He's essentially a punching bag who's continually manipulated and humiliated by his brother. Why doesn't he take a stand at any point? His passivity is never explained and he seems only to exist as a uninvolved counterweight to Caleb's aggression.

Brittany Fox is brilliant as the confused Emma who perfectly illustrates that women are attracted to 'bad boys' and not wimps. Adam Scott effectively conveys a young man teetering on the brink of a complete nervous breakdown. He and J.K. Simmons ably convey the dual nature of both father and son: both are damaged goods but manage to redeem themselves through love at the film's end. Vittorio Braham as J.T., Caleb's construction worker friend, does a fine job of depicting a young man with obvious learning disabilities but one who is also a loyal and supportive companion.

I doubt that the 'The Vicious Kind' will have much commercial success in mainstream movie theaters due to its dark, misogynistic theme, but as a nice little indie ensemble piece, it rightly fits the bill.
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If you have been ruined by a member of the opposite sex....
We Watched A Movie19 April 2012
Ever been hurt by a member of the opposite sex so badly you went through the growing a beard and wearing a stained t-shirt while being rude to everyone you came in contact with but really just wanting a hug phase? Whew. Me too. That's why this movie is so enjoyable. The film mostly follows Adam Scott's character Caleb. The film doesn't divulge all the details right away and I won't either, but let's just say a girl hurt him. Badly. Enough to make him the rudest bearded person around. His family life is not that great either, if you add the fact he's not even allowed to step foot on his Father's (JK Simmons) Property. Basically his wide eyed and innocent Brother Peter (Alex Frost) is all the family Caleb has. So naturally when he meets Peters gorgeous new girlfriend (Brittany Snow), who looks like the adorable punk rock girl that would rip out your heart from your chest and look cute doing it.....Caleb tries to stop his brother from falling for her, and of-course... ends up falling for her himself.

This film is written perfectly and played perfectly by everyone involved. What could have easily been a love triangle movie we have seen a thousand times before was anything but. Scott's performance as a guy teetering on the edge of madness and looking for answers is top notch. Snow never lets on exactly what she's thinking which makes for a really interesting movie throughout. JK Simmons is great as you would expect him to be and the writing leaves you wanting even more. The film had a great look to it and a decent soundtrack. It didn't feel like a false big budget romance, yet it didn't feel like a hipster indie film either. Yes, some indie films are starting to become as cliché as the big budget films. Not here though, this film has entertaining anger and a dark heart. But it's a genuine dark heart and an enjoyable, believable watch.

Mike Holtz WeWatchedAMovie
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Every girl with a strong sexual urge is a sucker for a bad boy
dave-sturm14 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Is the above true? Tell us, girls. In any case, that's what this movie is about. I think it tells a basic truth about male-female relatonships. Some girls gravitate to stability and safety. Others gravitate toward danger, instability and chaos. The symbol in the movie is who smokes and who doesn't.

The plot of this movie is simple. Total mysogynistic asshole prick of a guy falls passionately in love with his virginal younger brother's new girlfriend. After some conflict, she clicks with what big brother wants. She is not so virginal. Lust rears its head. Little brother has no clue what is going on behind his back. Maybe big brother has some redeeming qualities. Or is he just a opportunistic jerk.

Caleb, the older brother, who is the focus of the whole movie, finds that deep within himself are some noble motives that surprise even him. The movie, which could have plowed through some nasty melodrama, ends on grace notes. A single tear during a scene at the end speaks volumes. I'm a sucker for offbeat stories of love and heartbreak and this is one of the best.

Oh, and J.K. Simmons is in this movie.
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Adam Scott all the way...
mojojones7715 March 2010
'The Vicious Kind' maybe a harsher title than the movie actually is, but doesn't take away from the excitement that Adam Scott's classic manic anger and ass-hole remarks deliver to the film.

The film goes through Caleb's(Adam Scott)spiralling depression as hes dealing with a heartbreaking break up and having to be reminded of it based on the fact that his younger brothers girlfriend looks so much like his ex.

The problem with this film is its too straight forward, especially for now-a-days. It never really dives into who anyone really is or what they truly feel or does any of the issues in the movie ever get resolved. You never get to find out who Calebs ex really is, or that its wrong for Caleb to feel something for someone just because they remind you of someone you dated. This not explored makes for an unfulfilled movie with wasted ideas, but the performances are really the heart of the movie between Brittany Snow and Adam Scott. Alex Frost is alright here but his performance and character comes on to the stereotypical side making it boring, and J.K. Simmons is in a more tougher and rawer form than usual but basically does his usual shtick. Brittany Snow pushes herself in this role and is well casted. Her vulnerability plays well with Adam Scott's ass-hole attitude, pathetic state of being and sweetness, which varies through the movie making the movie more exciting and showing how good Adam Scott is at exposing the insecurities of a jaded character. Thats the heart of this movie, Adam Scott's good acting being exercised with this sorry S.O.B. of a character. 'TheVicious Kind' is a good movie mainly for the Adam Scott fan or for someone who doesn't mind a straight forward, real yet endearing movie.
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A truly powerful and masterful story about letting go while holding on
naregian6 April 2013
Rarely do I give films a 10/10, but this is strongly deserving. This movie has the most perfectly executed dark comedy I've ever seen. It has a truly hilarious, yet so dark and serious screen play. Perfect script-writing, perfect. This film had me laughing so hard and in a cheerful mood one minute, and then in a serious, dark mood the next. By no means is this a happy film, but the word choice and line delivery of Adam Scott just had me laughing, but I'll get to him later.

Honestly, there is not one unnecessary line, not one unneeded stare, not one superfluous action. While watching, I was waiting for a slip-up, maybe a stupid scene of dialog, or excessive profanity, or some flaw in the script but no, not one profanity is unneeded, not one sex scene is too much. Every single part of this film develops the characters and the plot as perfectly as you could imagine. Sure, you could make the case that this movie didn't need profanity or sex scenes, but without them, the characters wouldn't be the way the writer and director wanted to depict them.

Adam Scott, man he is good. I am so taken aback by how little critical and public attention this film got because Adam Scott is just so good in this film. You actually start to believe that he's like that in real life. He had me laughing out loud, yet feeling bad about it. He had me so emotionally attached yet disgusted by him. His line delivery is hilarious yet so cold. The way he brings his character to life is ridiculously believable. Brittany Snow was almost as good. She did amazing in her role and made it so true and identifiable to the audience.

This film is deeper than just entertainment. It is about the effects that not only love has on us, but also the desire, the yearning, and more importantly, the NEED for love, whether it be from a father, a son, a brother, a girlfriend, or a lover. This is a film about understanding when to let go of love, and when to accept new love, or re-kindle familial love. This is a film about knowing how to forgive, and how to be forgiven. This is a strong, strong film about how the way we deal with the past can change our future, and conversely, it is about how the future shouldn't be dictated by the past. Amazing, I know.

This is a powerhouse of a film, and is now one of my top 5 favorites ever. Do yourself a favor and watch it. An amazing, amazing movie.
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Your basic confronting old family issues indie movie
Jim Chevallier5 February 2010
Ah, the art of the indie movie... A slightly quirky (in this case sometimes cruel quirky) character, some complicated family relationships (with back story, of course, meted out at the usual pace), a lot of long slow shots of someone lost in thought while melancholy music plays, moody chiaroscuro close-ups, the inevitable acoustic guitar with a soft, almost whispered voice over it, a central, often ritualistic event (this time it's Thanksgiving - it could have been a funeral or a wedding) that brings long-separated characters together, an entirely predictable if not always believable mating dance, a few touches of self-consciously crass humor (just enough to show we're dealing with a rebel)...

The actors are all good, and it's a joy to see J. K. Simmons move in this particular territory. Very nice photography, too. But it's way too long and almost a parody of slow indie pacing. Not a bad film, if you haven't seen too many indies. If you have, and are waiting for the wonderful surprises the best of these can bring, in this case I fear you'll end up feeling, "Here we go again...."
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Great little film, give it a try.
momentfilms-15 December 2012
The Vicious Kind may not be what it seems like from the title or the premise, but that turns out to be a good thing, in this little gem of a straight to video film that does pay off if you stick with it to the end. Disillusioned Caleb (Adam Scott), who chain smokes as he tells his newly smitten brother Peter (Alex Frost) that 'They're all whore's-' he's talking about women of course. But no matter how off putting and anti social he might seem at first, Caleb, well guided by Scott's first rate performance, is one of those character's you couldn't ignore if you tried. Peter's new girlfriend Emma Gainsborough (Brittany Snow) might have an upper class name, but we can tell she's not from wealth even if she didn't keep sneaking outside to smoke. But as much as she may be turned off by Caleb's many acts where he well acts out, (including leaving X rated pics of himself with a prostitute for her to find), we know that the bad brother has something to offer that the good one can't possibly provide, and while the third act of the film does not play out too predictably, it would be no surprise to most viewers what happens. But the performances above all make this film watchable, not the least of which comes from J.K. Simmons as Frank, the father who is estranged from Caleb, while inviting of Peter and Emma's budding relationship. Simmons turns in yet another dependable and likable character here, even with the least screen time of the four. Happy endings may not necessarily abound at the end, but at the very least the film leaves it's character's with the promise for a different path.
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Good, Until....
mauvemoonlight27 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Warning - Spoilers in this review.

This film is quite good, until they go romping off into fantasy-land with it - with the old, tired myth that women like to be treated like dirt and are always attracted to men who treat them that way - along with the equally absurd idea that such misogynistic, self-centered men are always far better lovers than the nice guy(s).

We began the film with Caleb (excellently portrayed by Adam Scott),revealing how much he hates women and warning his younger brother, Peter, about his new girlfriend Emma - whom Caleb has never even met.

We get an excellent look at Caleb's unstable mental state throughout the film - however, I got the impression the writer did not realize how psychotic Caleb's behavior was. Apparently, the writer saw Caleb as just a typical "bad boy" with some problems due to what happened between his parents.

If the writer had followed through with Caleb's increasingly erratic behavior to what should have been its ultimate conclusion - this film would've gotten ten stars from me instead of eight.

When we meet Caleb and Peter's father Donald - we see an older version of Caleb - and begin to realize at least partly - why Caleb behaves as he does.

Peter's girlfriend, Emma, who is a psychology student, comes from a family that is dysfunctional as well - but obviously she hasn't met 'dysfunction' until she gets mixed up with Caleb and Donald and their family dynamics.

This is a film I think anyone who's interested in psychology would find quite fascinating - even though it veered from reality with Emma's behavior in regards to Caleb.

8 Stars
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Interesting indie with interesting performances
SnoopyStyle21 April 2014
Caleb Sinclaire (Adam Scott) is an angry bitter drunken insomniac. His brother Peter (Alex Frost) has a new girlfriend Emma Gainsborough (Brittany Snow). They pick her up from college. Caleb warns him against all women, but he can't seem to get his mind off of her. Peter and Emma are staying with their father Donald (J.K. Simmons), and Caleb has a contentious relationship with their father.

This is definitely not the normal character that Adam Scott usually plays and it's far away from his nice guy persona. Caleb is unhinged and self destructive. It's a good performance from him as well as Brittany Snow. Writer/director Lee Toland Krieger has created a difficult dysfunctional family dynamics. The story has just a little bit of humor. I wish it had a bit more as well as more drama. It's an interesting little indie with some interesting performances.
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Fest favorite will not break into the mainstream
ctownfilm21 December 2009
The Vicious Kind is the kind of film that will play great to rabid audiences on the festival circuit, the problem being that now it has been released to the general paying public. There are a lot of problems with this film, namely; the humor isn't very funny, and the drama can't be taken too seriously. This will leave any film dead on arrival. What The Vicious Kind attempts to do is mix comedy and drama, and what's left is blandness and confusion amongst the aud per what is supposed to be funny and what is serious. Adam Scott is decent, but he could be real good if the script gave him some real emotion to play off of. Which brings me to the films next major problem - motivations. What drives these characters to do what they do? There is some back story, but it felt very exposition-y. There's a lot of crying being done here seemingly without reason as well, explicitly as means to "deepen" the characters and solemn the mood.

If you want to see a truly great American Indie this year, rent "Two Lovers".
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Pedestrian journey to the source of a tiresome creep's problems
tigerfish5022 December 2010
"The Vicious Kind's" chief flaw comes into sharp focus during the film's opening minutes, when a charmless misogynist, Caleb, picks up his younger brother and a college girlfriend in order to drive the couple home for a weekend visit. Caleb's toxic sarcasm, combined with his hostility and lust towards women, is so extreme that one instantly despises the film's protagonist. Except for Brittany Snow as the brother's girlfriend Emma, none of the other characters are sufficiently developed or sympathetic enough to hold one's interest, but unfortunately her credibility is undermined by inexplicable behavior. After Caleb's initial rudeness towards her, Emma has every reason to regard him with open contempt, but irrationally the script demands that she starts being attracted to this embittered, condescending, self-pitying loser.

In addition to these defects, the film's journey back to the origin of Caleb's issues is pedestrian and repetitive. It lumbers on, lacking drama, wit or pathos, until the long-awaited revelation finally arrives, which provides scant justification for his previous obnoxious conduct. Caleb continues with his selfishness and deceit until the end of the film, when his poisonous nature is swept unconvincingly under the carpet just in time for the final credits.
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Empty Story Carried by Characters/Actors
in19843 March 2010
There's really no story of any significance. It's a character/actor driven film seemingly intended to provide a slice of Virginia culture.

While the characters manage to pull it along for a while, it becomes clear where it's going fast and there's nothing of substance beyond that. Some of the potentially interesting directions the film could have added never materialize and your left basically with what feels like somebody writing a story of what they expect a psychologist wants to here. As a documentary, this would have worked. As it is, it's just pointless.

So what do you get out of it? If you're a fan of the main male and female actors, you get a little skin and flesh, very little, and lots of close ups and sad, confused expressions, and an OK soundtrack. You'd be better off spending an hour and half watching Internet videos of real people talking about their lives. Add Virginia to the search, and see what comes up.
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A difficult but well told story
valinvancouver16 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
As many reviewers have said, the acting is great in this movie. I even thought the actor playing the younger brother did a good job, given he was limited in what was mostly a supportive role. I have a new-found respect for Adam Scott's talents, as he nailed a very complex character here.

This is a raw, somewhat painful movie to watch. I actually skipped over the middle act because I was concerned about how they were going to handle the storyline. My fears were somewhat assuaged and I went back to watch it chronologically.

A history of betrayal in the family has estranged son from father, and a more recent betrayal has driven the son (Adam's character) to what appears to be the brink of sanity. Half the time his behaviour towards his younger brother's girlfriend is misogynistic and frankly inexcusable. Then he's spends just as much screen time breaking down emotionally and apologizing. It's infuriating because this kind of damaging emotional instability - extreme anger-induced verbal/other abuse towards women followed by remorse - is not exactly rare in our society. However, I think they did a reasonable job of not glossing over his bullshit behaviour and Emma is portrayed as having some fortitude in the face of his erraticness. Yes, annoyingly, she gradually becomes attracted to him (or more likely to his backstory as the black sheep of the family), but they make it clear in a more understated way that she has her own damaged psyche to contend with. Brittany Snow nailed her character as well I think, in a nicely nuanced performance.

The movie's final betrayal serves as a catalyst to some form of new awareness or growth for most of the main characters Thankfully the realistic tone of the movie held firm and they didn't resort to some rom-com happy ending, as I would have had to literally vomit if that was the case.
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... everyone in this film comes away losing
bjarias2 November 2014
"Men want a nice girl who's bad only with them... women want a bad boy who's nice only with them." One thing streaming movies you'd never otherwise be watching is that there are a large number of very talented, young actors out there you can then get an opportunity to see. Three of the leads in this film are in this category.. most notably Brittany Snow. When there's a short-list for an upcoming project, there's a very good chance she'll be on it. One criticism of the film... the only scene didn't get by well, was one of the more important ones. No way they don't get busted, with all the noise they were making in the next door bedroom. And one reviewer mentions, Caleb is just a 'good person' who happens to fall 'in love' with his brother's girlfriend. Sorry, just can't buy that one, good people don't continually sexually pursue the girlfriend of a sibling they purportedly love, just to have a one night stand (that ain't 'fallin in love'). Caleb acts more like a remorseless, self-centered jerk, with serious issues, that just can't get his life together, or keep it in his pants. And some reviewers were questioning where the ending leads. There is only one direction.. guilty as he is, she comes to realize a bit too late that her impulsive, self-destructive behavior has cost her dearly... and she departs knowing there's now only a dead-end future remaining with this problem riddled family. This is top notch film making, worthy of much greater recognition.. one of the better films of the year.
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Family dysfunction leads to partial reconciliation.
suite921 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Caleb and Peter are Donald's sons. Emma is Peter's girlfriend. Alex reluctantly agrees to pick the two of them up to come to Thanksgiving dinner.

The drive to the father's house is long and uneasy. Donald is more than a bit earthy and gruff. Emma is a psych major and has some skills with putting up with difficult people.

Caleb broke up with Hannah in the recent past, and is still quite angry about it. Unfortunately, Emma reminds Caleb of Hannah.

Emma and the three men get to know each other. Emma cheated on her past boyfriend to be with Peter, and Caleb hopes Emma won't hurt Peter in the same way.

'Trespass on my property again and I will shoot you,' Donald said to Caleb. Great stuff.

Caleb starts falling for Emma. Sure feels like rebound stupidity to me. Caleb more or less starts stalking Emma. Peter spends time and money on a prostitute, but this does not seem to help. He gets into a bar fight because he thought a man touched a woman inappropriately.

This is clearly not a comedy, even though it is billed as one. It is a psychological drama about Caleb's inability to deal with his parents breaking up. Donald tells Emma (since Peter would not) about Diane, his wife. He claimed that Diane cheated on him, and that she went into the hospital and died shortly thereafter, when Peter was about ten. Caleb visited Diane in the hospital, and avoided talking to Donald after that. One hopes this gets resolved before the end of the film.

Peter lost his virginity to Emma during the visit, but she seems not to be satisfied with him. Caleb and Emma do it at Donald's house, which seems awfully stupid, what with both Donald and Peter in the house. Miraculously, they get away with that (or so they thought), and Caleb tells Emma about what really happened. As he leaves Emma, he immediately goes into a long overdue heart-to-heart discussion with Donald.

Peter misses all this, and goes back to Emma, and they try again. Donald drives them back to the train station to school for the ride back to school. Donald has a not very clear talk with Peter before they depart, but they have warmer feelings as a result.

So, the film ends with a convenient web of lies in place. The best part, perhaps, was that Donald and Caleb reconcile.


Cinematography: 10/10 Well-lit, usually well-framed and focused.

Sound: 8/10 Incidental music that comes as a harsh, loud surprise. Voice sound levels often drop quite low.

Acting: 10/10 Good. I enjoyed the performances of J. K. Simmons, Adam Scott, and Brittany Snow the most.

Screenplay: 8/10 Moves along nicely early on. It drags a bit in the middle, but comes to a reasonable, if not good, conclusion.
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