John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in tiny Peacock, Nebraska, prefers to live an invisible life. Then, in a moment, everything changes. A train caboose runs off its tracks and crashes into John?s backyard and destroys... more » more than the weathered planks of his wood fence. When neighbors descend on the scene, they discover John?s other personality, Emma, for the first time and mistakenly believe her to be John?s wife. This launches John into the glare of the spotlight and eventually shatters the delicate balance of his sanity.« less
Sharon F. (Shar) from HIALEAH, FL Reviewed on 2/27/2022...
Unbelievable beautiful performance from Murphy as Emma. While I liked the movie, I found it so sad. Sad that he didn't seek help and didn't have friends.
Steven H. (sehamilton) from BIRMINGHAM, AL Reviewed on 11/4/2011...
While Cillian Murphy does a fine job of acting, the rest of the cast is pedestrian at best. The John/Emma character(s) is creepy and unnerving. Quirky without any answers or resolution, be prepared to simply "experience" the film without fully understanding it. Not a film I would watch a second time. 2 out of 5 stars.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Way Off Beat
Eric Sanberg | Berwyn, IL United States | 04/23/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As you can see by the previous reviews, the opinions are greatly varied. They all have merit but I have to say I liked it more than I didn't like it.
As for the issue of multiple or fractured personalities, I don't have the expertise to say whether or not they exist, but it is the crux of this film so, depending on your views on the matter, you may need to suspend your disbelief.
Yes. You get, right off the bat, the strong connection to Psycho. Abused son plus dead mom equals crazy son. This son, played by Cillian Murphy will make or break this one for you. Susan Sarandon is present but she's doing what she can with a rather small part. Bill Pullman seems unnecessarily weird and Ellen Page does a very good job even though she's only in a couple of scenes. This is Murphy's movie. The way he plays the parts of John and Emma, I felt, were tremendous. He's screwed up and trapped in a self imposed prison. Through a trick of fate he almost finds a way out through his alter ego Emma. But you see the torment in him and you realize how precarious the situation is. One false move and the whole thing comes crashing down.
The writer/director Michael Lander ripped a couple of pages out of the David Lynch book of film making but as I tend to like Lynch, I wasn't at all bothered. It's a good idea for a movie and all aspects of the production are professional. The soundtrack is way cool and the bones don't show. This is a good, solid, imaginative film. It clocks in at 90 minutes so it won't tax your patience.
But beware. This is not for the casual viewer. If you're into popcorn kind a flix this may not be your cup of tea. If way off beat films are your poison, give it a shot."
"The plot of the movie is a dark pscychological thriller without your usual graphic gore and expected hollywood shocker ending. The story deals with an alter ego or split personality in a man that was abused as a child by his mother. Murphy's performance as Emma is superb. He makes you believe you are watching the transformation of a beautiful, shy and soft spoken woman into a secure, assertive one. I cannot think of any other actor who could have pulled this off as beautifully as he did, since he does have an incredible talent and androgynous features with wig and drag. If you want to watch a great and unique performance, you wont be disappointed."
A. Szarka | Hawaii | 04/28/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the preview for this movie and then bought it the same day. I like it, though it does remind me of Psycho. The guy has a split personality, always fun to witness, and doesn't know what the other is doing. He was more creepy as himself than as his mom/wife. Susan Sarandon and Ellen Page both did a fine job in this film as well. It's creepy and strange, so of course this movie is good enough to watch and enjoy."
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 05/19/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
For some reason, "Peacock" never made it to the big screen and instead was released direct to video. The main focus of the film is on a character, John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy) who works in a bank in Peacock, Nebraska in the 1950's. He has issues with his mother who died recently and he had been the victim of much abuse from her. Now he dresses as a woman and he has created a new personality and goes by the name of Emma. No one knew about Emma until a train derailed and ended in his backyard. When neighbors come over, they discover Emma and think that she is John's wife. The train incident becomes fodder for the upcoming election and of course this makes things difficult for John as he must now appear as two different people. But that is not all. John's mom forced John to have sex with the town tramp, Ellen Page, who gave birth to a son, John, who seems to be losing his grasp on reality. Emma takes it all in stride and comes up with a plan to end all of the craziness. The plot is dark and psychological and it deals with the alter ego. Murphy is excellent as Emma and as John but he soars as Emma. For a movie of this kind, it goes in all directions and makes clear that that can happen when a mother mistreats a child. It is Cillian Murphy who saves this movie that could have easily become a mess. Instead I see it as a serious work rife with thoughts and emotions. The story moves slowly, but surely, and we find that the action is actually in our own minds. I have read some really poor reviews of "Peacock" and to me that does not matter. I found it insightful and interesting and for a period piece it is exceptionally well done. With a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Keith Carradine and Bill Pullman, there is not much chance that this film could become boring. I have read several negative reviews but I cannot agree with any of them. I liked this film. "
The life of a split personality in a small town is suddenly
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We see a woman busy doing her chores one morning, the last of which is to make a sandwich and leave a note on top of it. Then she goes into the bedroom, takes off the wig she is wearing, and the next thing we know we are watching John get dressed for work. "Peacock" might be a title meant to symbolize the main character played by Cillian Murphy, but it turns out to be the name of the town in which John Skillpa and his alter-ego Emma are living their quiet but divided life. It turns out that John is a momma's boy raised by a not so nice mother. She always took care of him and in the wake of her death "Emma" arrived to take momma's place. The arrangement works quite nicely. John goes off to his dull job in the basement of the town bank, eats the lunch Emma made for him, and dutifully picks up things at the store as instructed by her note. Everything is working fine, and then one day, as Emma is hanging up the laundry, a caboose from a passing train ends up in the front yard. To say that things will never be the same again for John and Emma is a gross understatement. Neighbors meeting Emma assume she is John's wife, the owner of the bank (Keith Carradine) is running for mayor and sends his wife (Susan Sarandon) to set up an event on John's front lawn, and then there is Maggie (Ellen Page), a call girl who Emma learns had been receiving money from John's mother. Curiouser and curiouser.
I checked out "Peacock" because it had Ellen Page in it, and after "Hard Candy," "An American Crime," and "Juno," I am interested in seeing anything she happens to be doing. I had never heard of the movie before it showed up in our local Redbox, because for some reason it never received a general release despite the notable cast (which also includes Bill Pullman and Josh Lucas), and when I poked around to find out more about the film I found several suggestions that "Peacock" is a horror film, a label that I do not really find appropriate, despite what the obvious allusions to "Psycho" might suggest. Director Michael Lander, who also co-wrote the film with Ryan O Roy, calls it "an internalized psychological horror film," and that is certainly on the mark. John wants his life back, while Emma is finding that she might actually have a life. The question at the core of this 2010 film is what John and Emma are going to do about each other. As the film's tag line puts it, "If only he knew what she was doing." Your feeling is that things are going to end badly, but you want to hold on to hope because John has clearly been victimized by his dead mommy dearest.
As you would suspect, Murphy makes a decent enough looking woman, but there are times when you find it hard to believe that nobody in town picks up on the fact she is a he. That being said, the plight of his characters is enough to find yourself caught up in his quickly deteriorating situation. The story is set in rural Nebraska in the 1950s, when quirky neighbors were more readily accepted and the idea of a local transvestite would never occur to anyone, even if they had been to the big city (which would have been Lincoln). "Peacock" is an interesting little film, where you will find yourself curious to see how it plays out. The special features on the CD consist of four brief deleted scenes, a 20-minute featurette about making the film, and an alternative ending. As a general rule I abhor alternative endings because I like filmmakers to have the courage of their convictions for the story they are telling (Imagine alternative endings for "Gone With the Wind" or "Casablanca" and try not to throw up), and I have to say in this case the seeing the other ending only confirms my feeling for the original conclusion because I liked the way things played out with all the attendant irony. The alternative ending is arguably more ambiguous, but with this particular narrative letting things play out to a conclusion that is no less tragic hits the right final note for me."