The Drowning (2016)
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I kept waiting for something to happen... Some event that would clear things up... but it never came.
The characters weren't particularly likable and their true motivations were never revealed.
somehow i'm still thinking I might have missed something. they couldn't just have pasted together a story with random people doing insignificant things, right?
In the bonus track of the DVD, the film artists were earnest as they described their intention of exploring the dark side of human personality. The screenwriter discussed how his goal was to explore "the difference between guilt and conscience" from the perspective of a psychologist whose professional opinion resulted in institutionalizing an eleven-year-old boy.
After the boy is released as a young adult, the psychologist saves the young man from drowning in a suicide attempt. The film's major thrust is on what is depicted as a highly unethical relationship of the psychologist, Tom Seymour, and the young man, Danny Miller. The relationship transcends all bounds of professional propriety between a doctor and a patient.
While the filmmakers wanted to dramatize "characters on the edge," it was never entirely credible that, as a successful therapist and bestselling author, Tom Seymour would have spent a single minute as Danny's therapist, given the role that he played at a major crossroads in the patient's past. It was also not believable that Tom would not provide at least a basic background about the troubled youth to his wife, Lauren, at a time when Danny was essentially stalking her.
The film's director, Bette Gordon, likens the character developments of The Drowning" to the classic novel "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Unfortunately, the film viewer only saw the "Mr. Hyde" persona of these characters. As a result, "The Drowning" failed to offer insights into the existential issues that the filmmakers wanted to raise. In the final analysis, there really wasn't much depth to the characters.
This film presented a disturbingly negative view of psychologists, who are invested with the power of making life-changing decisions on people's lives through the legal system, drink their lives away in bars, become enmeshed with their patients in an unhealthy way, and capitalize on their interactions with fragile, damaged patients in bestselling books of case studies of psychological trauma.
This is clinically depressing stuff indeed!
I wouldn't recommend it.
However none of the characters act the way they should given their profession. They act all worried and obsessed about this person they view as a charming kid.
There are hints from conversations between Tom, the prosecutor, and the parole officer that some kind of cover-up or rail-road might have occurred. More conversations seem to indicate a secret. But nope. That never happened. That part of the story kind of just went away.
Tom seems to wonder if maybe the kid is really guilty. Later it's revealed to the audience, that it's stupid for him to wonder since he has a video recording from his therapy sessions with Danny when he was a child. On it, Danny says exactly what happened. So why the hell was Tom wondering anything? Or why did the prosecutor wonder later if he was innocent. He must have seen the video at the time. Man, so stupid.
The actor that played Tom, gave a lot of constipated expressions. Danny the killer was manipulative. How anyone could trust this creep or think he was charming is beyond me. The ending makes no sense.
This movie is about nothing. Skip it.
Instead we get a wishy-washy, I-don't-know-how-to-judge this situation liberal who knows not how to judge good from evil and twists their definitions in his mind endlessly. Of course, this leads to the very predictable character flaws and vices at work, away from work, and at home.
They never connected, the patient and therapist, yet the viewer is led to think it might take place. With the complete absence of obedience in the patient, why should everything be judged by the patient's non-stop family dysfunction. Either a person really wants help or he doesn't.
It's empty therapy. The "help" is ever learning, yet never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We keep thinking that Tom will re-look at the case to see if he missed something 10 Years ago because Danny keeps saying he never killed anyone. Tom checks with the lawyer who helped prosecute Danny. Danny is now known as Ian. Lauren is smitten with Ian and this disturbs Tom and he isn't sure what to do, but doesn't tell Lauren his concerns about Ian um .. Danny. We sometimes think that Lauren isn't too supportive of Tom, but she doesn't know what he is going through.
Notables: John C. McGinley as Teddy the lawyer who prosecuted Danny 10-Years ago; Robert Clohessy as Danny's father.
Production-wise and the acting all around are very good and we become like Tom . wary of everything.
The twist in here isn't really a twist, but more a solution to Tom's problem. Wait for it, but this is slow going because the script sends Tom (and us) in many directions. Be patient and you will be rewarded as we were. So wait for it. Ha! (7/10)
Violence; Yes. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: Yes.
Avan Jogia who plays the ex convict aka Danny Miller nailed the part and at times he was sinister, vulnerable and cunning in order to achieve what he wanted to and Josh Charles who played the psychiatrist did an excellent job too but Julia Stiles was barely in the movie.
It wasn't that bad. 6/10
There is really nothing positive at all I can say about it. Too bad as one of the leads is a Canadian actor - I hope he scrubs this from his resume.
This is a melancholy psychological drama with crime thriller elements. The focus is on the drama and the remorseful reflections thereof. All aspects of filmmaking are top-notch, including the convincing acting and well-scripted dialogues. The story's unpredictable: Just when you think something's going to happen, it doesn't (and vice versa). Some people refer to the unexpected climax as a "twist," but it's really more of a desperate solution.
The problem viewers have with this movie (besides the lack of thrills and explosions) is that not everything's spelled out; you have to read in between the lines. It's a study on the nature of good and evil within the context of human nature. Can a person be "evil" as a kid? If so, can he be reformed? Can a "good" therapist have elements of evil in his psyche? Did he have to deal with the same evil when he was a kid? What's the secret of overcoming it? The movie even throws in the enigmatic female attraction to "bad boys."
My title blurb reveals that there are similarities to "Good Will Hunting" (1997), but I'd watch this one over that overrated flick any day. Yet the script needed fine-tuned to drive home the movie's points. As it is, they're elusive; and this frustrates some viewers. But post-reflection reveals a lot.
THE FILM RUNS 95 minutes and was shot on the coast of Connecticut (New London, I'm guessing), as well as New York City. WRITER: Stephen Molton & Frank Pugliese wrote the screenplay based on Pat Barker's novel.
But is that enough? Especially when you have those over the top performances contradicting more layered ones. Or attempts of layered and nuanced performances that is. It's also a waste of some of the talent involved or at least it feels like it. I would not recommend this, but then again tastes are different, so either try the trailer or watch the first 20 minutes and you'll know
In retrospect, the title is brilliant! This film would have been a 10 with better characters and dialogue.
The end is the best part.