Schizophrenia + Dumb People

It’s not very often that a movie leaves me confused… but people… I’m confused as a motherfucker.

Releasing next week in Peacock, it’s got all the A-list talent you could ask for… Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins), Susan Sarandon (Lot’s a good shit), Ellen Page (Juno, Whip It),  Bill Pulman (Spaceballs) and is edited by Sally Menke. But it’s releasing straight to DVD. This made me scratch my head.

About 50 minutes in I began to see why. This is a hard movie to sell. We have the schizo that’s fighting himself… but he can’t control what he’s doing and doesn’t even know… sometimes what he’s doing. The way it flip flops between him knowing and not knowing about his alter ego put ME in a tizzy, so I can only imagine what will happen to the average moviegoer.

Let me explain the movie to you real quick… I think Wiki did it better.

John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in tiny Peacock, Nebraska, prefers to live an invisible life. This might have to do with John’s secret: he has another personality no one knows about, a woman, named Emma,who each morning does his chores and cooks him breakfast before he starts his day. Then, in a moment, everything changes. A train caboose runs off its tracks and crashes into John’s backyard and destroys more than the weathered planks of his wood fence. When neighbors descend on the scene, they discover 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. He must then fool the town into believing him and his alter ego are man and wife. But a young struggling single mother, Maggie, knows John’s secret and holds the key to his past and sparks a battle between the personalities.

That’s the wholllllllle hour and a half.

But there is a bright spot. A VERY bright spot. Cillian Murphy. I haven’t seen much of him since he played Scarecrow back in the day, but I remembered why I liked him so much. He really gets into his roles, and boy did he ever here. John/Emma got to a point of being an actual, BELIEVABLE character… though I’m surprised no one in that town noticed… Ellen Page showed up just as a plot point/random girl doing what she can to survive.

Strong performances and picture perfect setting keep this one afloat. But the horrible direction and writing give me the opposite of a hard on. If you like fucked up movies about schizophrenia. This is right up your alley.

B

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