Detachment

EducationAdrien BrodyBlythe DannerMarcia Gay HardenTim Blake NelsonLucy LiuWilliam Petersen

I remember thinking I would hate American History X. It had gotten a bad review from a critic I respected. I saw it and was pleasantly surprised.

Director Tony Kaye’s last film was a documentary about abortion (Lake of Fire). This time out, he cast Adrien Brody as the best substitute teacher in the city. He chooses to stay a sub so he doesn’t get emotional attached to anyone (colleagues or students). The plot thickens when students, teachers, and a runaway teen take a liking to him.

I wanted to stop watching this within the first 10 minutes. Brody’s face was annoying to look at. His quiet, calm voice was irritating to listen to.

When two students confront him on his first day, and a girl spits on a principal while her mom calls her a racist b**ch, I had had enough. I’ve seen so many of these movies and they get old quick.

Does Brody have a troubled past? What do you think? This movie is filled with all the clichés you’d expect. It’s uneven, pretentious, preachy, loud, and a very flawed and sanctimonious movie.

I realize I can be tough on these types of films. I’m still one of the few people around that says Crash was a piece of garbage, with only a few of the many stories working (and it won an Oscar for best picture!).

The cast is impressive. It includes Marcia Gay Harden (who had a horribly written opening scene), William Petersen, Bryan Cranston, Lucy Liu, Tim Blake Nelson, Blythe Danner, and James Caan.

Credit for this insipid screenplay goes to Carl Lund who -- surprise, surprise -- is a former school teacher. I’d prefer he go back to teaching and stay away from screenwriting.

If one of the students at this school put a gun to my head and made me come up with something about it I liked…I’d say the chalkboard animation was kind of neat.

It gets ½ star out of 5.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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