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Every morning, Martin Pyrite gets dressed, takes breakfast, kisses his wife Julie goodbye, and then sets off for work. Only Martin isn't going anywhere. Having lost his high-paying financial services job, he is sinking fast into near-insurmountable debt. To make matters worse, Martin's former employer has made him the fall guy for a disastrous business decision, essentially blacklisting him from other firms. Determined not to let his wife know, Martin strives to maintain the couple's posh standard of living by stretching their credit to its very limits. Then, late one night, a sinister debt collector knocks on his door with a proposition: help him carry out one task, and he'll wipe Martin's financial slate clean. However, the simplicity of this ominous request belies the chilling journey ahead. Martin quickly finds himself descending into his own private hell, where he must confront his worst fears made real. Written by
It's been a long strange journey for Christian Solemeno's The Glass Man to finally hit a wider market, but man, is it worth the wait.
This is a mesmerizing jigsaw of a movie, literally right from the start, and it's hard to provide a plausible reason for that --- there are no explosions, shootings, or jarring acts of violence. Just mild-mannered Martin, played with spot-on brilliance by Andy Nyman, having his morning shave and unable to figure out why his window keeps banging open.
Martin is an upper-middle class man who seems to have everything: he's gone to the right schools, gotten the right jobs, has a beautiful primly posh wife (Neve Campbell with a drop-dead gorgeous Brit accent), and all the accessories that go with it (first-edition books, spotless house, luxury car, bespoke suit). Only one problem --- he's in danger of losing all of it. His bank account's 15k in the hole and he's behind on his mortgage to an almost equal sum. His wife knows nothing of any of this as Martin keeps everything from her.
Doesn't seem like thrilling stuff, but it is and that's mostly due to Nyman and the bubbling cauldron of rage and frustration he keep shifting upon, trying in vain to hold it all down. He does such a good job with this that he makes a character appealing who, on the surface, should be shallow, vapid, and worthy of mockery. Yet the maddening situations he continually encounters are all too familiar to most of us, and that's to Solimeno's great writing credit. You really do care about Martin and wonder how in the hell he'll manage this mess.
But then it gets messier. Literally in the middle of the night, there's a knock on his door, and a guy by the name of Pecco shows up (veteran James Cosmo in a flawless, effortless performance). Pecco says he's taken on the debt of an old prep school chum of Martin's who's OD'd. Since Pecco's the size of a small mountain, Martin has no choice but to let the guy in his house and he begins to... negotiate, finally taking Martin out into the night in an odyssey that is by turns terrifying, hilarious, and always fascinating. It reminded me a bit of the nightmarish ordeal Scorsese took Griffin Dunne on in "After Hours." I'm not giving away anything else but suffice to say that things just get odder and more bizarre, almost to the point of being nonsensical --- until you start to piece together what you've been so entranced by thus far. And that's the beauty of this movie. It really takes you for a ride --- I can't remember moving or looking at the clock once.
Solimeno has crafted a real work of art with this picture, and it feels almost like a great stage play at times. Cosmo and Nyman play the absurdity card as deftly as two veteran sharks in Vegas, with the expected dry crispness of classic British humor that swerves easily between satire and farce. Solimeno even puts in a cameo appearance as another one of Martin's school friends, now a huge cinema star who's being stalked by an utter psycho who seems... huh, awfully familiar.
But enough. Go see the Glass Man. Hell, buy it. You'll watch it more than once and you won't regret it. It's one of the most ingenious films of the year.
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