Although the collapse of a business and the "poison pill" tactic ref'd in the title are key to this story, this story is not (solely) about business. it's about men and what happens when the power they hold so uneasily slip-slides away. It's about the accidental slapstick inherent in arrogance, and the desperation to make things right before the clock runs out. Any suggestion that the film makers should've taken a business course is like arguing that the Maltese Falcon could've used a better sculptor: totally beside the point.
The film is beautifully, authentically planted in both Floridas (the real one and the polyvinyl chloride one), but anyone, anywhere, will connect to this storymany of us have been in that conference room when the deal goes down, and gone reeling out afterwards with exactly the same compass confusion. As lyrical as cinematographer Andrew Wonder's work is in the natural- world shots, it most truly resonates on the faces of the three leadsthere's nothing inside these men that he doesn't paint. A woman will see every man she's ever loved; a man will see himself, and maybe the shadow of his father. Director Takoudes deftly lets his actors go without letting them go over; the agony they each bear is as earned as the sweat soaking their shirts. Michael Michaelessi's Paul is deep in stunned grief, a little bit in love with death, and he instantly recognizes that same slipping-into-darkness in the other two men when they intersect. Dennis Ostermaier's Christopher is digging for an essential decency all the while he's twisting, lying, and stumblingthe ice-cream-with-his-son scene is as ravaging as the quixotic trip through the knifey sawgrass palmetto. Robert Stevens' Frank comes on like a stereotype bloviator and then becomes something miraculous, with laughter that cracks at the top, and rage just this side of madness. Amy Seimetz's broken-crystal moments are deceptivewhat initially looks like sleaze becomes a fulcrum for truth-telling.
Yep, flaws aplentycould use a little audio clarity over here, could use a steadier steady-cam over there, could maybe use a tear-it-up bar scene with Hugh Pool playing right up front but otherwise, everything is here. These are the Secaucus Seven's kids all grown up, and that's a very deep, very human wound.
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