Friday, April 16, 2010

Peacock (2010) is disturbing

Peacock (2010) dir. by Michael Lander

John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in tiny Peacock, Nebraska, prefers to live an invisible life. This might have to do with John's secret: he has another personality no one knows about, a woman who each morning does his chores and cooks him breakfast before he starts his day. Then, in a moment, everything changes...

I know I said I was taking a full week off, but I can never pass up a movie that was filmed 30 miles from where I live. I had been waiting for Peacock to hit theaters,and it really just never happened. I think most of that is due to it pretty much just going straight to DVD. I think this is probably one of the best straight to DVD movies I have ever seen.

The idea behind what makes Peacock such a thriller is that it could legitimately happen in real life. Dissociative Identity Disorder is very much real, and it is not uncommon to be at the level it is for Cillian Murphy's character. The abuse he went through as a child forced his mind to split, and one side of him turned into this motherly figure. He was able to keep it under wraps until a train crashes in his backyard, revealing Emma (his alter) to the town of Peacock. This throws off the agreement the two identities had relied on for so long, and the consequences are enormous. This was the perfect movie to come out of the Midwest, by the Midwest, as it carries the general dark and dreary theme and environment that I live in every day. I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach throughout the whole film, as I almost felt uncomfortable with John/Emma being revealed. People still know very little about DID or how to handle it. I know this is a peace of fiction, but I also look at it as an educating piece. This movie is like a guideline for how to not handle a person with DID. While Cillian Murphy does look very believable as a woman, I did think it was a little far fetched for everyone to not notice it was him. Still, the movie was very strong from start to almost finish. I'll explain in a minute.

This movie is bursting at the scenes with actually amazing talent. Ellen Page was actually the weak link in the movie, as I feel it wasn't her most impressive performance. That being said, her being the worst makes this movie pretty damn good. Murphy definitely pulls off the performance of a lifetime, and while this movie will get extremely overlooked come Oscar time, his acting is nomination worthy. You almost feel bad for what his character had to go through as a child, and what he is going through now. It is not hard to distinguish the difference between his two personalities, one being weak and scared, the other being curious and strong willed. He is flawless as both completely original characters. I have never seen anything of his that could compare, not even Breakfast on Pluto. Susan Surandon gives one of her better performances as the strong independent woman activist Fanny Crill, and in her own way she kinda helps glue the movie together. Josh Lucas gives a great realistic performance as the towns Officer, and he doesn't try to steal the show every time he is on the screen. Its a smaller role for sure, but I'd say it was at the same caliber as his job he did on Undertow. Great job all around for the supporting cast. It was really hard to find weak points in the acting.

Lander manages to direct a great film without overpowering anyone and keeping it simple. The pace he keeps the movie at never falters. It is a gradual steady build of suspense to a fulfilling ending. The cinematography on this film is something that drives it. The countless shots of the emptiness that is the Midwest. The fields, and pastures give us a sense that John Skillpa is alone. The colors never show bright nor extreme dark. They hover in the middle giving the movie a necessary dull look. The musical score was a little on the light side, but showed its moody head when the times were right. Especially the opening montage with the mothers voice overlapping itself. That was a start that got my attention.

In the end, my only bone to pick with the movie is the last ten minutes or so. While the movie definitely does end, and doesn't leave loose ends, I felt like the movie came to abrupt flat stop. The last ten minutes was bouncing back and forth between basically two possible outcomes of the movie, and the tension was lost after the first couple bounces. Overall, I did extremely enjoy this movie, and it is always nice to see a movie that manages to make me uncomfortable without extreme gore, or unlikely situations. I recommend this to everyone and I will be buying it on DVD.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Rear bike baskets
Cinematic Value: 8/10 Rear bike baskets

watch the trailer below


The Mike said...

Oh wow, I didn't know this came out. Will have to find it soon, loved the trailer.

Simon said...

It looks so Hitchcockian, and I love the cast, and how the hell do they get off DTDing it?

Cillian Murphy does best when he's cross-dressing.

Pat Tillett said...

Thanks for the info. I'll be checking it out!

Carahallie said...

The musical score was a little on the light side?????

You've got to be kidding! This is one of Hollywood's best scores to date!

R.D. Penning said...

there was nothing about the score that stood out. I barely noticed any music half the time, and it definitely didn't have the strong presence you need in a thriller.

♥♥♥♥♥♥moa♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ said...

i love thriller movies and the trailer definitely got me watching this movie. I thought the music played well since it wasn't much on the dark side but it deal with the characters psychologically. However, what I thought that needed more explanations was how John was treated when his mother was alive. I thought it wasn't really clear on that part and it didn't answer my question about John's split personality. Is Emma supposed to be evil?

Annie Oaktree said...

A lot of great comments here. The only thing I would add is that I'm amazed that no one noticed that Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy are never in the same scene at the same time. The camera would put a hand or a shoulder or the top of a head into the scene to make it look like they were together but they weren't. That's why some folks think Ellen Page wasn't at her best because she wasn't talking to anyone when they shot her scenes. Must have been a scheduling conflict.