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Otis E. (2009)
a great example of a great anti-hero story
Being a huge Kevin Durand fan, I bought the "Otis E." DVD directly from Sublime Entertainment and watched it with high expectations. Not all of those expectations were met, but I was not disappointed.
Otis, recently released from a long and violent life in prison (most of which is spent in solitary confinement) is a character both intimidating and obviously unstable, but also sympathetic. The journey that he takes from the halfway house he obviously can't stand to be in, to the unique people who (whatever their various reasons may be) are willing to befriend him, reveals the things in the world that he struggles to interact with as a "normal" person would, as well as the sights and sounds that trigger unpleasant memories for him.
Much of the story, and many of the characters, are a bit bizarre. At first, this made me wonder what their purpose was, but the more into the film I got (and the more I thought about it afterward), the more appropriate it seemed that you don't get a whole lot of background or detail on anything or anyone apart from Otis. We more or less see things from his perspective, and the tension and confusion and fear that he feels is nearly tangible.
If you see this film for nothing else, see it for Kevin Durand's stellar performance in his first title role. From the very first shot of Otis, I was moved by how well Durand can convey so much thought and emotion just with his facial expressions and posture. His lines are few and far between, a fact that only enhances the impact when he does speak. I truly ended up caring about the character of Otis, which is a feat most actors these days can't quite manage.
Don't expect a lot of action, don't expect tons of intense, complicated dialogue or twists & turns or big surprises. As a matter of fact, I found the ending to be rather predictable, but still powerful and moving.