The Merry Gentleman

Christmas movies come in all guises, but it’s hard to recall one as dour, reflective and damned un-Christmassy as Michael Keaton’s directorial debut. Fleeing her abusive husband, Kelly Macdonald’s Kate heads for Chicago where she begins an uneasy friendship with Keaton’s suicidal, self-loathing assassin Frank. But this is no ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’-style redemption song – Keaton’s interests lie in far murkier corners of the human soul. There’s never a sense that these two chronically isolated loners are good for one another, and the script’s inexorable spiral into dark places is compelling. Ironically, its major flaw, given Keaton’s OTT acting CV, is an excess of subtlety: eager to avoid any hint of Hollywood schmaltz, Keaton restricts his male characters to little more than lurking shadows, while Kate never develops beyond a male fantasy of feminine vulnerability. A flawed but decidedly promising first movie.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 4 2009
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Keaton
Screenwriter: Ron Davis
Cast: Kelly MacDonald
Michael Keaton
Bobby Cannavale
Tom Bastounes
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