Since last week I've put up flyers, alerted the authorities, and organized search parties. I've even made a phone call to potential abductors and warned them about my particular set of skills. Since that failed, we've been combing wooded areas with flashlights in the daytime. I mean, who wants to be wandering around the woods at night. The flashlights just seemed like the right thing to have. Anyhoo, we've been searching in vain for Thursday, until now. We've finally found it.
It's time for Thursday Movie Picks. As usual, we're hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. That entire first paragraph was just my way of saying that this week's topic is movies about a disappearance. After all the awesomeness I showered you with last week, I figured I'd play it fairly straight this week. In other words, no so bad it's awesome stuff, this week. These films are legitimately excellent.
The Disappeared: EmilyBrendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a high school kid who keeps to himself, and might even be depressed, after breaking up with his girlfriend Emily. He's still got love for the girl. Therefore, when she calls him frantic and desperate for help after apparently getting herself into a dangerous situation he wants to what he can to get her out of it. Her phone call gave only vague clues about her whereabouts so he goes into investigation mode and finds himself in some precarious positions. Before you sit down to watch this, I must give you a warning on the style. The dialogue is written as if it's a 1940s film noir while being set around modern-day high school students. It's fantastically done. It's the directorial debut of Rian Johnson. If you're not familiar with that name, you should be. He would team up with Gordon-Levitt again in 2012 for the amazing Looper. If that doesn't ring a bell, chances are you will probably his next project when it comes out in December: Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The Disappeared: JessupJessup is a deadbeat dad who also happens to be known for cooking up crystal meth. The local sheriff stops by the house where is family lives looking for him. To no one's surprise, Jessup hasn't been in quite some time. The family hasn't even seen him. The sheriff then informs the family that Jessup has a court date coming up really soon. If he doesn't make it the family will lose that house since it was put up for collateral when Jessup was bailed out of jail. With mom in a catatonic state, completely oblivious to what's going on, it's up to eldest child Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) to find Jessup and drag his ass to court. This is one engaging and tense piece of film. Lawrence gives a stirring performance while John Hawkes and Dale Dickey are downright scary in their roles. Debra Granik wrote and directed this wonderfully bleak film. The shame is she hasn't done another narrative feature since. I hope she gets the chance to do more. (Click here for my full review)
The Disappeared: Nicholas BarclayIn 1994, a fair-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed 13 year-old boy named Nicholas Barclay disappears from his family in Texas. Three years later, the family receives a phone call telling them Nicholas has been found on the streets of Spain. Eldest sister Carey flies out there and brings him back to Texas. What we already know, and Carey seems not to pick up on, is the person she picks up is not Nicholas at all, but an adult con-artist named Frédéric Bourdin. I know what you're thinking. It's been three years, maybe the guy looks like what she imagined her brother would after several years. Nope, no way, no how. This dude is a dark-skinned, brown-eyed Frenchman. Nevertheless, the family all accepts him as Nicholas and the entire town celebrates the boy's triumphant return, doing television interviews with him. Mr. Bourdin spins some fantastic yarns to keep up his ruse, even enrolling in high school. However, it eventually falls apart. Understandably, many questions are raised. The big one that emerges is was the family truly duped or did they just go along with it for more nefarious reasons? This is a documentary that's far stranger than anything you can make up. If you did make this story up, you'd be told by anyone with any sense at all that there's no way this would work. It's just too ridiculous. (Click here for my full review)