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Reign Over Me

  • Film

Time Out says

Upon noticing the words ‘Adam Sandler’ and ‘9/11’ occupying the same sentence, you’d half expect some sort of coronary arrest to ensue. Yet the tender, meditative opening scenes of ‘Reign Over Me’ neatly dispel any mental imagery that may have formed involving a gurning Sandler spraying silly string at a group of irate Muslims. As Paul Thomas Anderson did with ‘Punch-Drunk Love’, director Mike Binder has twigged on to the fact that if you root Sandler’s genially churlish moron act into a more sober foundation, a vulnerable, believable and even lovable character can begin to emerge.

Here he plays Charlie Fineman, a one-time dentist and dead ringer for ’60s-era Dylan (Todd Haynes will be kicking himself) who, having lost his wife and daughters during the 2001 attacks, now lives alone with the support of government compensation and has taken to meandering the streets on a motorised scooter cocooned in a bleating soundtrack of ’70s radio rock (Springsteen, The Who, The Pretenders). It’s only when Charlie bumps into ex-college roommate Alan (Don Cheadle) that he spies a potential playmate who won’t force him to face up to his past.

With its impressive central performance, this is undoubtedly Sandler’s film, yet by the final act you begin to wish that his electric presence was served with something a little more offbeat than the obligatory ‘is he insane?’ courtroom showdown appended by a series of textbook cathartic monologues. Still, even though ‘Reign Over Me’ acknowledges the legacy of 9/11, it thankfully never gets bogged down in emotive eulogising or political finger-pointing, focusing tightly on Charlie’s tragicomic emotional evolution.
Written by David Jenkins

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 20 April 2007
  • Duration:124 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Mike Binder
  • Screenwriter:Mike Binder
  • Cast:
    • Adam Sandler
    • Don Cheadle
    • Jada Pinkett Smith
    • Liv Tyler
    • Saffron Burrows
    • Donald Sutherland
    • Mike Binder
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