The one critical scene we see Barthes read among the detritus and chaos around him. The order of the universe lies in his life of mind instead of the sensory life itself. Embodied in moral imperatives, Mr. Barthes is the essential stoic's "ataraxia", a serene calmness against all the odds yet not detached from the love of life itself.
What marks this movie from any other happier-ending ones is the absolute confidence in the present: The danger lies in the joyful tears of Erica rushing toward him. One fears more pain than joy in the universe however the beautiful sunset in the shaded grove looked at that moment of embrace.
First, in a genius stroke of irony, we get to hear Adrien Brody lecture to a class of kids about how there are more important things in life than looks. Next our hero instantly connects with and rights a few hardened inner-city school kids. Then, and I'm not joking about this, the flawed hero swoops in an rescues a young prostitute from the streets.
This film is about a mile wide and about a millimeter thick. My eyes were literally tired from all the eye rolling. I added a star, however, for superb acting and a great cast, but that's the best I can do.
Detachment doesn't tackle a new subject. Delinquent kids and teachers'
inability to teach or control them has been a theme since the 1950s
(Blackboard Jungle anyone?). However, with each of these sorts of
movies you hope that there is something new to be added. If there are
movies that add to the discussion, Detachment isn't one of them.
Rather than try to present solutions, it just shows the problems. You
would think Adrien Brody's character represents the solution but his
character is too implausible to be true: idealistic and overly
goody-two-shoesy. Plus, is he really the solution? (Any more and
there'd be spoilers). If anything, the movie is telling us: don't be a
teacher and, more broadly, don't have kids.
The plot is quite predictable. Some events are signposted far in
The plot isn't hard to figure out in advance, especially as you have so
much time to work it out, the movie progresses so slowly.
Sure, there's heaps of melodrama, people throwing things, kids being
all aggro, ridiculous dialogue and sub-plots, but it's fairly empty.
Lots of pretense and bluster, but no substance.
I think the screenplay alone is quite beautiful, but the gloomy overpowering tone prevents it from fully spreading it's wings. There was a bit too much unnecessary profanity for my taste and some of the dialogue sounded altogether unnatural.
I don't want to completely put down this movie. I actually enjoyed it and it does pull on the heartstrings. Under another more proficient director, this could've been a four-star movie.