Friday, November 9, 2012

Maguire's 'The Details' Appears to be Missing a Few

Laura Linney plays Tobey Maguries crazy neighbor in
"The Details." (The Weinstein Company)

 MOVIE REVIEW 

It’s a shame not to see more Toby Maguire in the movies. That will all change in the coming weeks. Fans of the actor will be happy to hear that he has three films coming to theaters between now and next Christmas including The Great Gatsby. First up is, The Details, which has been making the festival circuit before its wide release. Was it worth the wait? That’s debatable.

The Details is the fourth film written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes who turned some heads with his 2004 Mean Creek. Like Creek, Details  was filmed in the Northwest – the first in Oregon, the latter in Seattle. It’s a black comedy with an impressive cast including Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Kerry Washington, Dennis Haysbert and Ray Liotta.

The bizarre storyline begins with Dr. Jeffrey Lang’s (Maguire) battle with raccoons. He has just spent a heap of cash remodeling his backyard with a sprinkler system and fresh sod. The raccoons are not impressed and continually pull up the sod. Jeffrey’s wife Nealy (Banks) would rather he creates a less inviting backyard for the rodents, but Jeffrey is not going to back down. His war leads to traps and poison. Meanwhile, he needs to keep his crazy neighbor (Linney) happy or she may report him for doing something unethical with his new landscaping. This situation puts strain on his marriage and causes him to seek advice from his friend Rebecca (Washington) which ends up a big mistake. If that wasn’t enough, Jeffrey is also trying to find ways he can help his friend Lincoln (Haysbert). Perhaps his charity stems from guilt, but he considers donating his kidney for the man.

The first part of the story is based on the director’s real battle with the masked foes in his own life and if the movie stayed with this storyline, it may have become a better picture than it ended up. About halfway through, the raccoons hardly make an appearance.

Maguire’s character lives with a lot of guilt, but isn’t very likeable. Bank’s talent is fairly wasted here and while Linney provides the best acting, it is also the most disturbing.

“Details” is a morality tale about a man who keeps making mistakes and then tries to cover them up instead of coming clean. It plays out as if the director wasn’t sure what type of story he wanted to tell. Ultimately it is a morality tale, but it also tries to be a comedy, a drama, a love story and even horror – but doesn’t succeed in any. To add insult to injury, the film attempts to offend many of its audience members with offensive language, drug use, infidelity and more. Ultimately, it is a very sad film. 

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