Friday, July 18, 2008

Duck DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Senior Citizen Bonds with Duck in Unlikely-Buddy Drama Due on DVD

It’s 2009, Jeb Bush is president and the U.S. has become no place for those societal castoffs unfortunate enough to have to subsist on fixed incomes or insufficient government subsidies. Retiree Arthur Pratt (Philip Baker Hall) is just one such poor soul, having landed homeless and alone on the streets of Los Angeles after using up all his savings.
Broke and despondent, the grieving widower is contemplating suicide in the park where his wife’s and son’s remains lay, when he encounters a duckling who mistakes him for its mother. Instead of following through, Arthur’s paternal instincts kick in, and he adopts the waddling orphan and names him Joe. The two soon bond and become inseparable, wandering all around the city, trying to survive and find their place in a world which considers them extraneous.
Ala Amelie (2001), the naïve waif who won everyone’s hearts in the Oscar-nominated French film, they magically enrich the lives of similarly-situated strangers they encounter on their peripatetic sojourn. For instance, they befriend a blind man (Bill Cobbs) with a seeing-eye dog, an Asian manicurist (Amy Hill) whose clients never look her in the eye, and a little girl separated from her nanny (Annie Burgstede)
Some are hostile, however, such as the callous construction workers, bus driver, mental health workers and members of a hobo support group. This bittersweet flick works only because its star, Philip Baker Hall, throws himself into the role ever so convincingly opposite his anthropomorphized companion in a manner reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart with his imaginary 6-foot tall rabbit in Harvey (1950) and of Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball he called Wilson in Cast Away (2000).
A geezer and his pet pal performing random acts of kindness till they find salvation at the ocean shore.

Very good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for brief profanity.
Running time: 98 minutes
Studio: Westlake Entertainment
DVD Extras: Audio commentary by Philip Baker Hall and the director, interviews, cast bios, desktop downloads, theatrical trailer, photo gallery and movie poster.

To see a trailer of Duck, visit:

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