When a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy's backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infideli... Read allWhen a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy's backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and murder.When a family of raccoons discover worms living underneath the sod in Jeff and Nealy's backyard, this pest problem begins a darkly comic and wild chain reaction of domestic tension, infidelity and murder.
A seemingly perfect couple, Jeff the Doctor (Tobey Maguire) and the beautiful Nealy (Elizabeth Banks) are in a rough patch in their stale marriage. Two ill advised home improvement ventures lead Jeff to a run in with some pesky raccoons and a even more pesky encounter with a crazy cat lady neighbor(Laura Linney). Doctor Jeff's life begins to unravel as he tries to navigate his way through bribery, blackmail and his urge to feel some sort of spark that is missing from his marriage. A woeful tale of infidelity gone bad unfolds that leads the Doc down a slippery slope. He tries to cure his woes with a few doses of philanthropy, but no good deed goes unpunished, its the details that always gets you in the end.
The performances by the cast are top notch, Toby Maguire as Dr. Jeff gives a complex performance that is humorous, emotional and sympathetic. Elizabeth Banks has flashes of brilliance, the last 10 minutes give glimpses of what more her character could have offered had the filmmakers seen the opportunity. Lauara Linney is comic genius in a turn that is right up there with her best. Dennis Haysbert and Ray Liotta give very pure performances. This movie couldn't have asked for better side players which only makes it more disappointing that the filmmakers didn't create a better landscape.
The Details has brilliant moments of humor, but its see-saw approach between gags and edge of darkness stuff keep it in a gray area which can only be successful in the most polished of hands (e.g. American Beauty). Ironically its in the details, where the Details fails. There are numerous moments in the film where just a few tweaks could have kept it from flying off the tracks. The lasting impression is an attempt at modern story telling that wastes excellent performances by not keeping a tighter grip on the story.
I expect some buzz about the film after its initial premiere. Tobey Maguire gives a fabulous performance and gives all that he could, however once this sort of film is removed from the gloomy shadows of the downer films that typically makes up most of Sundance it probably won't fair very well. Shame really, this could have been a more significant film.
- Jan 25, 2011