- Director: Tony Kaye
- Genre: Drama
- Cert: 15A
- Details: US / 97mins
Hey, who wants to go see a movie that says the world is shit , that you've helped make it that way and there's now nothing we can do about it? Anyone? A mixture of Blackboard Jungle and Camus, Detachment might be a movie that's fed up with everything but still manages to muster the energy for a full-blooded scream in frustration of it all.
Adrien Brody is Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher who despairs at the state of the world. His approach to this problem gives the movie its title: he just not going to care anymore - if he doesn't care, the world can't touch him. However, if he can save Erica (Gayle), the teenage prostitute who propositions him on the bus home one night, maybe by extension the world is worth saving.
"What are we gonna do with these kids?" is usually the condescending tone Hollywood takes with The Blackboard Jungles, To Sir With Loves and Dangerous Minds of this world. But now these kids have had kids - and they're worse. The kids here are either foul-mouthed and aggressive and hurt small animals (boys) or foul-mouthed and aggressive and dress like sluts (girls). There are no redeeming qualities to the students here and the fault lies with parents, who only show up to threaten to sue the teachers for suspending their kids, or not show up at all, as what happens at the Parent-Teacher Meeting. Teachers too have given up the fight.
Kudos to Tony Kaye, who had a similar theme of hopelessness in American History X, and debutant writer Carl Lund for recoiling from any easy answers; its tendency to hit one over the head with its hard questions grate, however. One teacher's rant about discipline morphs into German, and, just in case you don't get it, we're given an image of Hitler. The on-the-nose imagery has obvious dialogue to keep it company: at one point Brody tells Hendricks that he's a 'non-person' and 'hollow.' One phone call from an angry parent ends with: 'My kid has ADHD. I looked it up online and that's what he has. We get a laptop.' The dialogue takes an issue, simplifies it and pumps it into lines like that. No parent looking to wangle themselves a laptop from a school on the back of their kid's supposed illness would say that.
But there's something about Detachment that's eminently watchable. What it has to say might be driven home far too hard but at least it has something to say
Review by Gavin Burke | 12:55 | Friday 13th July 2012 | Movie Review
The formatting of the review is all messed up with duplicate chunks of text - as of mid-day Friday 13th!Posted 12:22 | Fri 13th Jul 2012
"No parent looking to wangle themselves a laptop from a school on the back of their kid's supposed illness would say that." You reckon do you? And this comes from your vast experience in the field of trying to educate the underprivileged. "My kid has ADHD. I looked it up online and that's what he has. We get a laptop" is poetry compared to some of the stuff I've heard parents say.Posted 17:57 | Sat 28th Jul 2012
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