Detachment (15)

Film

Drama

Detachment

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jul 10 2012

There’s a moment during the opening credits of ‘Detachment’ – ‘American History X’ director Tony Kaye’s dissection of the US school system – that sums up how flawed the film is. We open on real teachers talking to camera about their lives, struggles and reasons why they chose this job. Then we cut to Adrien Brody, as substitute English professor Henry Barthes, in the same pose – and the illusion shatters. There’s nothing wrong with Brody’s performance, except that it’s just that: acting. And the film suffers similarly throughout: however close it might be to the actual experience, it just feels fake.

Barthes arrives at a troubled New York middle school looking to keep his head down and offer a little moral support to the student body. But it becomes clear that the teachers (played by a striking ensemble cast including James Caan, Lucy Liu, Christina Hendricks and Marcia Gay Harden) need help, every bit as much as their drifting, listless charges.

Kaye’s direction is audacious, chucking in animated inserts and murky flashbacks to occasionally bracing effect. But his intentions are never clear – is this supposed to be an oblique character study, as a ‘Taxi Driver’-esque subplot involving a teen prostitute implies? If so, why give so much screen time to the other teachers? Or is the film trying to make a wider social statement about education – and if that’s the case, why undermine it with self-conscious fakery and stylised dialogue? Whatever the answers are, ‘Detachment’ doesn’t work, but it’s a fascinating, hypnotic and sometimes powerful failure.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 29, 2012

Duration:

98 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|5
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Steph

Have you loved an alcoholic and had to detatch for their sake and your own sanity ? This film rings so true about coping with relationships with disfunctional people.

melodramatic

Actually thought that Adrian Brody's acting was very very believable in this, and there's a lot to enjoy. Agree about the style and direction. But the child prostitute was disappointingly pretty and the ending was ridiculously melodramatic.

Neville

I couldn't disagree more with this hopeless review. The film is extraordinary, visceral, upsetting and as heavy as a planet with porternt with acting that rings true and real. An amazing movie.

Peter 888

Odd review - 3 * for a film which is 'fascinating, hypnotic and sometimes powerful' - if you can do that and still produce a 'failure': well I wish all my cock ups were as good as that. I thought that Detachment was brilliant - held me from first to last. It is a messy film, but it's a messy film about the messiness of life so that seems ok. The only problem is about which of the two teenage girls gets to have the really bad ending - a bit stereotypical I thought

Peter 888

Odd review - 3 * for a film which is 'fascinating, hypnotic and sometimes powerful' - if you can do that and still produce a 'failure': well I wish all my cock ups were as good as that. I thought that Detachment was brilliant - held me from first to last. It is a messy film, but it's a messy film about the messiness of life so that seems ok. The only problem is about which of the two teenage girls gets to have the really bad ending - a bit stereotypical I thought