Thursday, June 24, 2010

Don McKay DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features Janitor Mired in Emotional Quagmire

This indie flick isn’t half-bad, for a taut, neo-noir thriller that inexplicably transforms into a screwball comedy around its midway point. What salvages the production, which at times also isn’t half-good, is the fact that it was blessed by such a talented cast capable of convincingly executing the zany screenplay with perfect aplomb.
Let’s face it, when you’re spotted a trio of Oscar-nominees for the lead roles right, namely, Thomas Haden Church (for Sideways), Melissa Leo (for Frozen River) and Elisabeth Shue (for Leaving Las Vegas), it’s reasonable for your audience to expect to witness something special. Church plays the title character, a jaded janitor who’s been working at the same job for the past quarter century, after being dumped by his high school sweetheart, Sonny (Shue). He left their tiny hometown in Western Massachusetts, and has forever since pined away for her from afar.
Meanwhile, she never answered any of his letters until she developed terminal cancer and needed a shoulder to lean on. That’s the intriguing point of departure of this slowly-revealed whodunit which is secretly laden with an abundance of shocking twists lying in wait.
As the action unwinds, we find Don hurriedly returning to rustic Mount Raven by bus in response to Sonny’s urgent appeal for assistance. Upon his arrival at her place, he’s met at the door by her steely, live-in nurse, Marie (Leo) who warns of his ex’s weakened condition. Later, Sonny’s doting doctor, Lance Pryce (James Rebhorn), fills Don in further about his patient’s dire prognosis.
Despite the illness and the intervening years, the former lovebirds manage to rekindle the flames. Sonny apologizes for the way it all ended, and would now like to make amends by tying the knot on her deathbed. Of course, all is not as it appears, and the plot thickens when Doc Pryce exhibits a jealous streak in response to their resurrected romance.
It’s difficult to say what transpires at this juncture of the picture, regardless, I dare not deconstruct the film any further, since that would involve spoiling some delightful developments. Suffice to say, Don McKay does remain an entertaining enough diversion, though in this critic’s opinion it veers sharply from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity and violence.
Running time: 90 minutes
Distributor: Image Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, audio commentary by director Jake Goldberger and producer Jim Young, and a theatrical trailer.

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