According the free dictionary online, detachment means breach, break up, insulation, aloofness, fairness, impartiality, objectivity, nonchalance, disinterest. Usually when you see this many good actors put together in a movie, you should expect it to fall apart for lack of cohesion, but Tony Kaye, the director who also directed American History X which is a must watch movie with Edward Norton, keeps the narrative tightened around the central character, Henry Barthes, brilliantly portrayed by Adrian Brody who seems to be playing another version of the character he played in the Pianist.
This scene of the Pianist almost, and I must insist on that almost, brought me to tears the first time because of everything that comes before and the intimacy between hunter and hunted created through music.
Here’s an impressive picture of director Tony Kaye that’s worth a look:
Now as to the movie “Detachment”, this is no news that the American education public system is seriously broken. In fact, it’s so broken that every new president promises to change it all for the better for everyone. Well, this movie gives some of the reasons as to why.I didn’t go to high school here in the US, but my sister and brother did and I feel sad for them. They didn’t get to have the thrill of passing national exams at the end of high school which causes so much stress that some of the students end up hospitalized because these exams pretty much determine your future.
The children, these angels fractured by their broken family, the broken society and a dysfunctional school administration have no hope except for Henry Barthes, the substitute teacher in his dark and glowing armor who swoops in and saves most of them, but keeps his shield of distress up so he may see another day. Sometimes it takes a dysfunctional, almost on the ledge to help another dysfunctional.
The cinematography which involves Henry Barthes reminiscing on his childhood, the cold light and some amazing shots of the school in decay and chaos plunge the viewer in a mood that leaves a sense of urgency in your mouth after you are done watching it. I also think they could have used less shots of Adrien Brody appearing so stricken, but I’m glad they didn’t have any background music to cue us in as to his sadness.
I will be a teacher one day because I still feel romantic about it. Yes, it’s a calling but society doesn’t thank them enough in words or financial deeds. But like in this movie, there’s always that one child who makes it all worth it.
Let me know if there are movies that I must watch, I like my list of movies like my reading list: Endless.