April 15, 2014

The Vicious Kind

Lee Toland Krieger, 2009
Dealing with heartbreak from a recent breakup, Caleb (Adam Scott) attempts to be protective of his younger brother who is home from college by scaring off his girlfriend, who he surprisingly starts having feelings for.

Set in Norfolk Connecticut, The Vicious Kind is a small New England love story packed with raw emotion. It's the minimalist design that makes the film appealing. You rely on the performances of three very different men and a beautiful girl, all who have their own personal issues that manifest themselves in various ways when in the presence of Emma (Brittany Snow). Caleb is mostly angry and heartbroken. The jet black hair of Emma is a feature similar to his ex-girlfriends, so it's not hard for Emma to actually become the woman who just broke Caleb's heart. Caleb's father Donald (J.K. Simmons) has his own issues with women, a general disrespect for them, which erupts quite quickly at the dinner table when introduced to Emma for the first time. And young Peter (Alex Frost), the most sympathetic character in the picture, is just so innocent and sincere. He hasn't been burned by the world yet.

The film studies the long-existing, never-boring father-son conflict. The brother/brother competitive dynamic. Ones personal destruction after a breakup and the inevitable slow rebuild. The Caleb character is a departure for usually-comedic actor Adam Scott, who has no trouble putting it all on the screen. He is defeated, bitter, resentful. He is unpredictable and impulsive, his mood turning on a dime. One minute he is sobbing to himself, cigarette in mouth. The next he is explosive to anyone around him. The film's best attributes are certainly in the performances and and solid camera work. The myriad of medium shots bring you into the weight of the moment, especially with the often rough exchanges between Caleb and Emma. The film gets a bit sloppy, especially with some of the flashbacks of Caleb with his ex-girlfriend. It makes sense they exist, if anything they give some kind of history to Caleb. But it seems a bit unnecessary. Adam Scott provides enough in the present-day Caleb to really deliver a thorough character without back-story. He shows this from the remarkable opening shot of the film with him sitting in a diner booth with watery eyes. Hopefully he pursues more dramatic roles in the future. He certainly has the chops.

1 comment:

  1. Adam Scott gave me a little scare. His ability to become, emerge in this character of Caleb was for me mesmerising. To see such a wonderful, talented Comedic actor play a dark, twisted role with so many edges to ones self was down right
    Brilliant ! I have always enjoyed Adam Scott since "Party Down" days !! OMG so funny . Adam is tried and true and wish him the best .I hope Hollywood sits up and takes notice.Bc I for one really want to see More of him on the screen Big or small!!