A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communication.A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communication.A troubled husband and executive adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his sole means of communication.
A heavy handed drama which showcases sincere performances
The phrase "I'm depressed" is a phrase we hear people lamenting a lot these days. Heck, we are guilty of whining about how depressed we are too. Work woes? Relationship problems? Uncertain future? Depression is more indeed a convenient state to live with, until a solution comes along. But how serious can depression get? How affected can one get to entirely lose interest in activities that dictate normalcy? While we are no medical experts, we are guessing that if one's feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness, worthlessness and restlessness lead to difficulties concentrating, remembering and making simple decisions, he should be duly concerned. We are also guessing that if one can only communicate through a hand puppet like the protagonist of this film, he is in need of medical attention too. After a 16 years hiatus (Home for the Holidays) as director, Jodie Foster casts good friend Mel Gibson (Edge of Darkness) as the CEO of a toy company who becomes depressed after being kicked out by his wife. A series of incidents leads to him taking on a new persona in which he speaks through a beaver hand puppet. His wife and elder son are unconvinced that he is serious about this, but as a favour to his younger son who loves the beaver, they try to play along with the depressed man. Anyone with some common sense would think that this setup is a joke, wouldn't he? We, too, would be cynical if someone comes up to us one day to say that he can only converse through a hand puppet. However, we wouldn't mind playing along if the puppet was cute. And in this case, the beaver is one adorable creation that you'd want to cuddle. But wait till you see how serious our protagonist is with his newfound identity. That is also probably when you realise that this 91 minute film written by Kyle Killen has got a somber message to tell. Things get heavy handed as Gibson's character plunges deeper into this absurd game, and as a concerned fellow human being, you begin to wonder how severe one's depression can get. Gibson seems to be the perfect actor to play the troubled protagonist. The Australian actor has been in the news recently for accusations of anti-Semitism, misogyny and racism could the Academy Award winning filmmaker be facing some personal problems himself? His sunken eyes and sullen emotions in the film seem to be cry out for help, and you can't resist reading a little deeper into this role. Besides directing the film, his Maverick (1994) co star Foster takes on the role of the skeptical wife. The two have a comfortable on screen chemistry, probably due to their long time friendship. The film also features outstanding performances by up and coming young actor Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation) as the couple's elder son and Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) as his girlfriend hiding a secret. Audiences expecting a smart comedy (who wouldn't when the protagonist talks through a beaver puppet almost throughout the movie?) will be left cold by the production's serious tone. There is a unsettling feeling that the film tries a little too hard at times to shed light on depression as a medical condition, but we are assuming that its intentions are good you wouldn't want yourself to resort to conversing via a hand puppet one day, would you?
- Jun 23, 2011
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