Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian: New York Film Festival 2013

Benicio Del Toro gives his most fiercely coiled performance since Traffic, in this chatty post-WWII chamber piece about a Blackfoot tribesman...

New York Film Festival 2013: Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian

Benicio Del Toro gives his most fiercely coiled performance since Traffic, in this chatty post-WWII chamber piece about a Blackfoot tribesman suffering from blinding headaches related to a war injury. The patient’s exotic nature mystifies doctors (sympathetic folks, if trapped in the racism of the day), so they call on an exuberant specialist, a Brooklyn-based Hungarian Jew (Mathieu Amalric) who comes out to Kansas hungry for a job, a professional credential and a therapeutic challenge. Arnaud Desplechin’s two-hander (based on an actual case and coscripted by NYFF programmer Kent Jones) plays more like David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method than the schmaltzy Awakenings, building a quiet compassion that takes second place to an unlikely cross-cultural exchange. The explosive, messy complexity of Desplechin’s prior triumphs Kings & Queen and A Christmas Tale is tamped down somewhat—a shame—but the director finds a route to his signature motif: talking out the pain. Click for showtimes.—Joshua Rothkopf

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