Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Damian Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Amy Ryan, Liza Colón-Zayas, John Tormey
Director: Lodge Kerrigan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 11/25/2008
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A rare opportunity to see two different cuts of the same mov
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When we are introduced to William Keane (Damian Lewis) he is looking at the Port Authority for his missing daughter. But after a while his frantic behavior clearly bespeaks to other problems. By the time we see him drinking and having unsafe sex, we are questioning whether his problems are because of what has happened or causal elements. What is no longer is doubt is that Keane is suffering from mental illness. He seems to be more of a danger to himself than to others, but there is certainly a sense of impending doom to the life he is living. If it were not for the disability checks he has, Keane would be living on the street and if he ends up there by the end of this 2004 film we would not be surprised.
Writer-director Lodge H. Kerrigan ("Clean, Shaven," "Claire Dolan") likes to keep his camera in Keane's face so that early on we keep having the uneasy feeling that we are too close to this guy. But Lewis, who is most familiar to me from "Band of Brothers" and "The Forsytr Saga," plays Keane with what I would describe as a clear eyed insanity, deftly avoiding the stereotypical conventions of portraying mental illness on screen. So we find ourselves rooting for Keane, but have grave doubts that he can find let alone embrace any real sort of happiness. Then such an opportunity drops into his lap.
During one of his more lucid moments, Keane overhears that one of the other people at his flophouse, Lynn Bedik (Amy Ryan), is having money problems. She has a young daughter, Kira (Abigail Breslin from "Signs"), who may (or may not) be the same age as his daughter. Keane offers her money, which she is reluctant at first to accept. But he insists there are no strings attached; he has been in her situation and he just wants to help. Having been abandoned by her husband, Lynn is really in no position to refuse his offer, so she takes the money. When he does not follow up on the gift in any way that sets off alarm bells Lynn asks Keane to watch Kira for a few hours after school, but this turns into an overnight gig. The man and the little girl get along quite well, but that does not provide the comfort to Keane that we expect. This is why we come to the end of the film with a growing sense of trepidation as to how this is going to play out, knowing that Kerrigan's track record makes it clear he is going to avoid conventions and challenge our expectations.
When you go to the special features on this DVD you will not find deleted scenes. Instead, you will find an entirely different cut of the film put together by producer Steven Soderbergh. It runs about fifteen minutes shorter and provides what is pretty much a unique opportunity to see two different versions of the same film. I have done some minor examples of re-editing in the past, putting together the original openings for "Sense and Sensibility" and "Good Will Hunting" from their scripts to show students in class the different meanings that they constructed (this was before the day of alternate openings and endings being thrown in with deleted scenes). But seeing an entire film recut is fascinating. I do not want to get into details, but I will say that whereas Kerrigan begins with Keane confronting the ticket seller at the Port Authority about his missing daughter, Soderbergh begins with Keane lying in the median on the highway. That along gives you a sense of how the two versions head in decidedly different directions. So seeing this film twice means something on this DVD."
Riveting . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 03/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I felt stuck to my seat by G-forces of apprehension and fascination as I watched this film. I don't think I took a deep breath until it was over. The constant close-ups with handheld camera keep you trapped in the claustrophobic world of the central character. This effect is intensified as he talks obsessively to himself in a barely audible whisper, rocking back and forth in anxious indecision, his face a mask of distress. The brief moments when we see him at a distance, he is lost against an impersonal, noisy, cold urban environment, often not far from the steady flow of fast-moving traffic. The soundtrack has no music score, and the jump cuts from shot to shot and scene to scene heighten the disjointed, fragmented, agitated world of the film. The moments of release from this intensity are so rare and so welcome, you feel like you've found a brief calm at the center of a perfect storm.
The performances in the film are deeply moving, especially those of the central character, Keane, and the girl, Kira. Both are profoundly vulnerable, both literally homeless, and the tenderness between them makes your heart ache. Meanwhile, not knowing how fully stable he is capable of being, you watch with growing alarm as their lives become more intimately entwined. I recommend this film to anyone with an interest in the dimensions of mental illness, relationships between adults and young children, and the possibilities of human connection. Producer Steven Soderbergh's alternative cut of the film, available on the DVD, is a lesson in the impact of editing on how we understand character and story in film. Also recommended: Kevin Bacon's "The Woodsman" (2004), Ralph Fiennes' "Spider" (2002), and Serge Bourgingnon's classic "Sundays and Cybelle" (1962).
A Film That Finds The Gaping Hole In Which Unbalanced People
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lodge H. Kerrigan is a force in film who demands our attention. The fact that Steven Soderbergh produced this small, low budget work should indicate the quality of endorsement a fine filmmaker has in a relatively unknown writer and director.
Essentially a one-man drama, the 'story' is more an autopsy on the mind of a disturbed 36-year-old man William Keane (Damian Lewis) who lives in the streets and underground of New York, whispering to himself the data of a child snatching incident 'last September': we slowly get the idea that Keane's 7 year old daughter Sophie disappeared at station 8 at 4:30 PM. Keane lives his life searching for his daughter, watching, 'being watched', and in general appearing like a mentally challenged man on desperate treadmill. Keane lives in a rent by night hotel and at one point overhears a young woman Lynn (Amy Ryan) arguing with the deskman about her rent: she is accompanied by a seven year old child Kira (Abigail Breslin) and Keane follows them to their room and genuinely offers Lynn $200. 'to help them out'. Wary at first, Lynn accepts the money, eventually invites Keane to her apartment for shared take-out supper, and Keane warmly relates to both Lynn and Kira. At one point Lynn asks Keane to watch Kira for an afternoon and Keane and Kira enjoy each other's company in what results in an extended time due to Lynn's unexpected absence (she has been visiting her estranged husband arranging for them to reunite). Lynn finally returns and thanks Keane for his kindness and informs him that the two are departing the next day to re-join her husband. Keane asks for one last goodbye to Kira, a child he has grown love and who is the one who brings him as close to sanity as any person has been able. It is the manner in which Keane and Kira spend that last goodbye that forms the suspenseful ending to the film.
Some reviewers feel that not much happens in this story and I suppose that linearly speaking, not much does. But the spectrum of intensely difficult psychological journey with which we accompany Keane is extraordinary. Damian Lewis carries this film with a breathlessly credible performance of a man lost in the no man's land of mental deterioration, drugs, and alcohol. Thankfully Kerrigan never force-feeds us Keane's background except for a brief moment in which Keane recounts the dates of his birth and sadly unremarkable events of his life. The rest is left to the viewer to mold from the pitiful fragments Keane dispenses through his actions and reactions. The supporting cast is strong and the technical aspects of the film are well captured. This film may be too tough for most viewers who expect more information in a story, but for those brave enough to enter the mind of a mentally disturbed man and view the world through his perceptions and fears and needs, so brilliantly enacted by Damian Lewis, this film will stay in memory. Grady Harp, March 06"
Witness To The Downfall
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 04/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Keane", the new independent film from writer - director Lodge Kerrigan, features an intense, interesting performance from Damian Lewis.
William Keane (Damian Lewis) wanders around the New York Port Authority Bus Station looking for his daughter. Mumbling and murmuring to himself, he intently searches for the girl he apparently lost some months ago. Exhausted and frustrated, he returns to his hotel/ apartment and finds he has been locked out. After paying for another week, he falls into a fitful sleep. The next day, the search continues as he deals with his apparent mental illness, his loneliness and his general sense of drift. The next day, returning to the apartment / hotel, he overhears Lynn (Amy Ryan) fighting with the front desk clerk. Lynn quickly takes Kira (Abigail Breslin), her child, back to their apartment. Soon, Keane and Lynn form a friendship, looking out for each other, in a way.
"Keane" is a very intense film for many reasons, but the most predominant is the camera work. The camera follows Lewis' every move as he portrays the character. Usually sitting just behind his shoulder, we become an active participant in Keane's life as he struggles with the unraveling strands, trying to hold everything together. Lewis makes the character's journey believable as we watch from such a close proximity. This isn't the type of performance where the actor engages in long monologues describing his feelings and emotions. As we witness his struggles, we learn little things along the way, things which help to make Keane an even more believable character. In his dealings with the hotel desk clerk, he asks if he can cash a check to pay for the room. Pulling the check out, the clerk looks at it and remarks "You're disabled?" Throughout the journey, we learn more about the disappearance of his daughter. As we get to know more about Keane, we have to wonder if he ever even had a daughter. He certainly seems to believe he did, but doubt begins to seep in based on his actions and his interactions with others.
After he meets Kira and Lynn, we see a flipside of living in such a place. Lynn is a mother with a small child, living in the apartment/ hotel until her husband can get things "settled" where he is and they can join him. During the day, Kira goes to school while Lynn works at a local diner. It is a hard life, made all the more difficult by the bus system they must rely on. Lynn is initially weary of Keane, but as she gets to know him, she opens up more. Kira is a little more hesitant, growing used to Keane in little doses. Lynn asks Keane to pick Kira up at school and to watch her for the afternoon, so she can take care of some business. As they are enjoying a lunch from McDonald's, she says "Are you going to be my mommy's new boyfriend?" This simple question raises more questions about Lynn and her relationships, providing detail to her character.
Perhaps the best thing about the film is that we never really know everything about anyone. Think about the people you know. Do you know everything about them? Of course not. This makes the characters in "Keane" seem more life-like and real.
The relationship between Keane and Kira is very believable. Watching his relationship with the little girl, we realize Keane has been around kids before, placing more doubt on whether he had a daughter or not. As they spend more time together, Kira begins to feel comfortable around him, opening up to him, treating him as a friend. She comes to trust him, which may be a mistake.
But Kira doesn't recognize this, as she is a very young girl. Her mother, on the other hand, should recognize that perhaps Keane is not the best person to care for her child, as they have just met. Given her circumstances, struggling day to day, it is more understandable that she would come to depend on a seemingly normal person.
The final scene of "Keane" is very powerful. Mirroring the beginning, we get a fuller picture of what may have driven William to his current obsessions. Thankfully, the film leaves these conclusions a bit ambiguous, leaving our minds to fill in some of the blanks. Allowing our minds to come up with scarier, darker resolutions.
If "Independent Film" were a genre, "Keane" would be a sterling example. It has all the tell-tale, perhaps stereotypical, elements found in many independent films; loads of handheld camera work (I can't think of a single moment shot without a handheld camera, yet the film seems `normal' to the eye), relatively few characters, natural, low cost locations, involving, yet small-in-scope story. Some people may be driven mad by all of these elements. Others will embrace them wholeheartedly. If you aren't sure which type of person you are, give it a try.
"Keane" is worthy of a DVD rental.