Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
UPDATE: Late Tuesday night, The Weinstein Company officially picked up The Details.
When the Sundance Film Festival first announced their out of competition films, one I was particularly excited for, based solely on its description, was The Details. Written and directed by Jacob Aaron Estes (Mean Creek), The Details stars Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Kerry Washington and Dennis Haysbert in a dark comedy about a snowball of suburban drama set off by worm-hungry raccoons. Surprisingly, the film actually lives up to that wild one-sentence description providing laughs, shocks and a very well-balanced film considering it makes light of death, infidelity and more. Read the full review after the jump.
Jeff and Nealy (Maguire and Banks) have it all figured out. They’ve got money, family and everything in between. What they don’t have, though, is a nice backyard. So after they sod the whole thing, raccoons begin to dig it up and drive Jeff crazy. His desire to go all Carl Spackler on the little varmints creates problems with his cat lady neighbor (Linney), his best friend (Washington) and her husband (Liotta) and his basketball buddy (Haysbert).
As the Jeff continues to dig himself deeper and deeper with bad decision after bad decision, Estes’s screenplay and the lighthearted score/music choices help provide levity. Maguire’s performance is also incredibly varied as he jumps between dead pan, madness, kindness and straight up goofy. Even though he’s doing questionable things, this diversity helps keep the character relatable. Banks is her usual solid self but the standouts are the two actors with the meatiest roles: Linney and Haysbert. The Details is at its best – be it with the humor or heart – when each of these characters, representing Jeff’s polar karmic opposites – are on screen.
The Details doesn’t get as dark as you’d expect, but it brings levity to some pretty uncomfortable situations with a very confident tone.
/Film Rating – 7 out of 10