It was, purely by chance, as I flicked through Netflix, that I came across the movie Detachment starring Adrien Brody. Detachment takes an unflinching look at the people displaced in today’s society. Tackling issues on care for the elderly, the state (if you’ll forgive the expression) of state schools in the US, its lost children and child prostitution.
Rather a lot to look at in 98 minutes and usually each topic dealt with singularly, but the story writing is flawless by Carl Lund. The film premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and weaves all subjects together with ease through the central character of Henry Bathes. He is a supply teacher, seemingly very ordinary, dealing with extraordinary circumstances, played to the letter by the superb Adrien Brody.
Tony Kaye (American History X) directs the piece beautifully, as the film takes on a “mockumentary” style, with cut aways to a private interview with Henry as running commentary. The film ends on a sour but all too realistic note, as is the theme throughout.
Supported by an extraordinary all star cast, including Christina Hendricks, Lucy Lui, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Bryan Cranston and Blythe Danner. This proves to pack a powerful punch.
It would be unfair of me not to give a special mention Sami Gayle, who plays Erica, the child prostitute, who is befriended by Henry. Also Betty Kaye, who plays Meredith, a student in Henry’s English class. Both delicate characters in their own right, with a whole lot of angst, they’re played with precision and the right amount of intensity by both actresses, that you cannot help but feel for them equally but separately.
Detachment is a film that makes you stop, feel and feel some more.