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Monday, October 17, 2016

Manchester By The Sea (2016)

A janitor (Casey Affleck) is emotionally dead after a tragedy destroyed his life. There's a rage inside him he can't control and he can't connect to other human beings on the simplest level. When his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies suddenly and makes him the guardian of his nephew (Lucas Hedges), he must unwillingly confront his past. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (YOU CAN COUNT ON ME), the film is a showcase for Casey Affleck's dynamic performance. For quite awhile I feared the worst ... bonding, tears and a sentimental end but Lonergan is too good a writer for that and he sticks to the straight and narrow path to a more believable conclusion.  The film is not without its flaws, it could have used a good editor to pare some 15 minutes and Lesley Barber's underscore is over emphatic and unsubtle. But that's nitpicking really, Lonergan's script and direction are strong enough to weather the nuisances at the center, Affleck's potent performance is flawless. Cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes' lensing of the Massachusetts location is spot on. With Michelle Williams as Affleck's ex-wife, Matthew Broderick, Tate Donovan and Gretchen Mol.

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