Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hesher - DVD Review


Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson and Piper Laurie.  Directed by Spencer Susser.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, he of 3rd Rock from the Sun and 10 Things I Hate About You and Brick and 500 Days of Summer and Inception, is a really good actor, and here comes another character he can sink his teeth into, a headbanging, vandalous squatter, a dangerous grenade who throws himself into other people's lives.  He's clearly having fun. 

Add to that the touching work of Devin Brochu as TJ, the real protagonist, a quiet kid whose mom just died.  He gets bullied at school, his father's too depressed to get off the couch, and they live at his grandmother's, who's suffering from the dementia.  When TJ runs into Hesher, Hesher follows him home and moves in, like a much more assertive Nick Nolte in Down & Out in Beverly Hills.

Then comes the leap of faith the movie asks that I could never quite make.  The dad's so depressed and beat up by life that he doesn't insist Hesher get out of his house, he doesn't call the cops, and he lets TJ go whereever with this clearly bad influence.  The movie made me sympathetic and angry at the struggles that TJ's going through, but it made me more angry at the total lack of concern on the part of the dad.

The movie's very profane and goes back and forth between dark comedy and depressing drama, and while it has its elements, it's not worth wallowing through the ones that don't.  But remember the name Devin Brochu.

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