Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Don McKay

Writer/Dir: Jake Goldberger - feature film directorial debut
Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo, James Rebhorn, M. Emmet Walsh, Keith David, Pruitt Taylor Vince
USA, 2009

Reason to see: Very curious about the casting, look at that line up!

Thomas Haden Church stars as Don McKay, a high school janitor whom doesn't appear to have done that much since back when he was in high school. He doesn't appear down on his luck, but perhaps was at one time and never regained confidence from them. A letter from his high school sweetheart draws him back to his hometown and steeps him into the unexpected as he tries to deal with old and new acquaintances through troubling times shrouded in mystery.

The understated performance of Thomas Haden Church really roots the film, and the oddness of how calm his character is mirrors the calmness around the oddness of the story. It has a strong mysterious element to it that keeps you intrigued, but the overall normalness of the characters can be what keeps you on edge. With the exception of Elisabeth Shue, who plays the letter writing old flame, whom you just know is trouble and ain't all that subtle - although this contrast works very well, again putting the viewer on edge.

I was impressed with the cast from start to finish here, Thomas Haden Church is rock of endurance through the film and Melissa Leo who is always a joy to watch and she's fantastic here as the prim & proper carer for Elisabeth Shue. We also get to enjoy the talents of the James Rebhorn and the always entertaining Keith David.

Don McKay grafts us a mystery in the tone of a just off kilter crime drama, that is centred strongly on the characters over the events. It keeps us wanting more, but better yet it keeps on giving us more. Carefully planned and soundly built, it's a fascinating ride of behold. The story always drives forward, but it's the characters and the strong performances that you turn your head to look at along the way. It's an off kilter drama that really delivers.

DVD Extras:
  • Commentary with writer/director Jake Goldberger and producer Jim Young: The commentary is quite entertaining - very colourful, filled with sarcastic humour and numerous film references. Throughout the commentary they tell many stories and background on the casting of Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo, James Rebhorn, M. Emmet Walsh, Keith David and Pruitt Taylor Vince, including insights and suggestions from the actors. They also discuss location choices, behind the scenes moments and a lot abut of the process of and challenges with being a first time filmmaker are working on a small budget. The commentary for the majority of the film plays instead of the audio for the film, as opposed to on top of.
  • Deleted Scenes (4 min): 4 Scenes , really 2 deleted and 2 extended
  • Trailer
Don McKay was released on DVD June 29, 2010 as is available on Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of mysteries, crime dramas and off kilter dramas

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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