Starring: Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall
Director: Oren Moverman
Two upwardly mobile brothers and their wives meet at an expensive resturant to discuss the behaviour of their sons and what to do about a serious crime that they committed. One is a powerful politician (Gere), the other a bitter and angry teacher (Coogan), who not only have personal issues with each other, but with their spouses, all of which are put under pressure as they circle around to discussing the purpose of their meeting.
It’s a film about people who can afford to look away, who are spoiled, who spoil their children, and who, because of their class, face little consequences for their actions. In that sense, it’s a hard film to watch as no one is really all that likable. We learn more about the events and circumstances which surround them over the courses of the meal, which are labelled on screen like chapters. (This film was adapted from a book)
It feels like the story could have used a bit more meat and substance, it feels like it brushes the surface of the issues that it talks about and in it’s portrayal of the protagonists, simplifies the issues. But one thing that I did like was the way that we see Coogan’s character start to lose it and to relish his aggression, while his son looks on. There’s no mistaking the sense of child being like the father, especially when it seems they share a genetic disability.
There’s a startling lack of ability to face problems head on by the characters in this film, or indeed to face any harsh realities, which might be a core problem in this film. A film about shallow people can often become shallow itself. But the performances are quite good, with Gere and Coogan accompanied by the always brilliant Linney and Hall. It’s one to watch if you like these kind of mannered social dramas. Those of you who need a little more from your films need not apply.
See It If: one to watch for fans of the four leads, a quite good drama, but most of you also won’t mind that much if you miss it.