DETACHMENT | FILM REVIEW
by Alan Young
A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.
Detachment is a social commentary on education. Henry Barthes (Adrien Brody) is a substitute teacher struggling with a grandfather slowly losing his mind and simply trying to do the right thing.
This is an interesting story and not being too long out of the education system, it definitely struck a chord with me. The attitude of the students is all too familiar of what I hear from kids on the streets. Parental figures are very much absentee for the most part. Even when they are shown they are unable to comprehend or understand what their kids are going through.
Perhaps my enjoyment of this film lies in a familiarity of the topics within. I'm quite sure the majority of the target audience will be able to relate to at least one of the various plot lines. It's that immediate investment that allows me look past its various flaws. There are graphics that are a bit inconsistent. Sometimes they are clever and link scenes together well at other times they are unnecessary. The cinematography is also a bit uneven in its performance much like a couple of the acting performances.
Credit must be given to both Brody and James Caan. As the lead Brody really commands the screen, saying so much with his language and intonation. Having an excellent chemistry with all of the other characters and various plot points, which is difficult to manage as it does seem a bit clustered at times. Caan's part is fairly small. I don't think he's even on screen for a combined 10 minutes but his portrayal of that character was superb. He owned the screen every time the camera was on him, an absolute pro.
Overall this is a really good film. It touches upon a lot of subjects. Almost too many in my opinion. However, the relationships that develop throughout and the incidents within have a gritty realism to them that some directors just can't get across. This is a feature that overcomes it's flaws. The question I'm left with is why it took over a year to get released in the UK? Also why has there been barely any advertising for this. Top actors, well known director and a social commentary the film could have been a big success here. As it is, it may just whimper out after a week or two, I hope you try and catch it before it does.