Have You Rented... KEANE

Review by Humby. (I agree with this review completely, it's just that Humby wrote about it first.)

Keane is searching for his daughter, who was kidnapped at the Port Authority bus station six months earlier. This search dominates his life. From the first scene, it’s obvious there is something not quite right. Keane mumbles incessantly to himself, repeating lines over and over again. He is paranoid, frantic, scared. You see William Keane suffers from a form of schizophrenia. It doesn’t take long before we wonder if his daughter ever existed or if she is just a figment of his warped mind?

KEANE is one of the more unique films that I have seen in the last few years. It is less of a “typical” film and more of a fascinating portrait of a disturbed human being. Keane is in every shot of this film, essentially putting us inside his head with no escape from the illness that consumes him. We see the world as he does, and share his confusion. We never learn specifically what is wrong with Keane, because Keane does not know. At times he cannot control his emotions and reactions. These moments are incredibly uncomfortable because we are trapped with no idea what he is capable of. Due to these outbursts, even moments of sweetness and quiet are filled with tension and unease. He can snap at any moment.
This film belongs to Damian Lewis, who plays the title role with not one false beat or reaction. With just a look, we feel his pain and share his frustration. All of Keane’s motivations are pure, but because of his confusion and lack of control, he is capable of as much bad as he is good. Keane is a damaged person, but because of Lewis’ portrayal, I immediately rooted for him. Two moments in the film illustrate the quality performance that Lewis delivers.

The first is in the bus station restroom, where Keane cleans himself off. He takes off his shirt and starts to rub himself with the water from the sink. All the while, he stares into space; fear filling his eyes, repeating to himself that, “They aren’t looking at you. They don’t care about you.” In this scene, he captures the fear and the paranoia and fills his entire life. There is no quiet place in his mind. There is nowhere he can go for peace. He is trapped in his own head, scared to death.
The other moment is a tender scene with a young girl Keane has been asked to watch. They are in the bathroom, and we know by this point that Keane had a similar daughter and that he cares about this girl very much, but we have also been trapped in his head for days. Keane is nothing but sweet and caring, yet while we know he would never want to hurt her, he is more than capable.
The writing and direction by Lodge Kerrigan is bold in many ways. There is little actual plot in KEANE, but instead a great deal of atmosphere and a tone that is remarkably well handled. One of the many things Kerrigan did in the creation of this mood and tone is remove all sense of “movie” from it. There is no score or sound effects anywhere in KEANE. We are not in a movie, where the music can rise up and tell us how to feel or think. We can only then really know what he is going through and understand why.

If you’re looking for something different (especially if you are drawn to films that analyze mental illness) this is a really good movie and one that I highly recommend renting. Watch with an open mind and let yourself be taken to a place not very comfortable, but intriguing and highly insightful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:22 PM  
Blogger Cutshaw said...

There was a comment here from Rachel about the Zodiac script. I moved it to the proper page.

1:38 AM  

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