Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Indignation: Movie Review


Interesting, fascinating and entertaining story of love, death and beliefs.
Indignation is a story of love, death and faith. It’s a story of college experiences, the Korean War and determination. And it’s told with an eye for detail, and an ear for dialogue, and told through a lead character who is simultaneously completely confident with who he is, and completely unsure what he’s supposed to do. It’s fascinating to watch unfold, even if it never goes far, and it’s almost always entertaining. 2016

Directed by: James Schamus

Screenplay by: James Schamus
Based on the novel by Philip Roth

Starring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon and Tracy Letts

The movie opens in a Jewish neighbourhood in Newark, New Jersey. A young man was just killed in the Korean war and most of the families are distraught. The draft was in effect and more young men were out their doors, likely to meet their own death. The exception is Marcus (Logan Lerman), who is exceptionally bright, works hard, studies hard, gets really good grades and has received a scholarship to university – and this gets him out of the draft, and presumably free from worry for the next four years. Of course this doesn’t stop his father from worrying, who has concocted comparisons to every boy in the neighbourhood, especially the criminal ones, even though Marcus is nothing like them.

A great part of the style of the film is how realistic and how funny it is at the same time. Marcus’s father thinking he’s about to go steal a car for no reason at all and land in jail is pretty funny, but we also know why he’s so concerned. His son is about to go to college in another state and who knows what’s going to happen to him there. There are a lot of scenes like that. Characters whose motivations ring true, but still very funny nonetheless.

Sarah Gadon & Logan Lerman star in INDIGNATION. In theatres August.
Meet the class of Winesburg College 1955. It includes Marcus, his Jewish roommates, a few popular kids from a Jewish fraternity, and a girl – Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon). As stated, Marcus is smart. He cares a great deal about his classes, and will let nothing get in his way. Until he can’t stop staring at Olivia’s leg. Olivia is unlike anything Marcus knows. She has loose morals, a passionate personality, and a history of mental illness. And it’s with the introduction of Olivia that Marcus’s self-confidence turns into self-doubt and those two do not get along.

Perhaps the best reason to see Indignation is for Marcus’s extreme intelligence, self-determination and beautiful eloquence matching wits with an equally well-spoken Dean with a sneaky, but impressively stoic demeanor. There are two scenes featuring Marcus and Dean Cauldwell (played perfectly by Tracy Letts), and in both scenes the dialogue is viciously smart, with an entertaining exchange of ideals, faith, and everything else that comes to their sharp minds, and it also allows much further depth into who Marcus is and what makes him tick. Oh, and Marcus is planning on being a lawyer, and his courtroom skills are on great display in the Dean’s office.

As the story of Indignation unfolds, there are some interesting revelations for Marcus, further consequences for his beliefs and actions, and it all works because Marcus is, to his very core, an interesting person. He was raised Jewish but has atheist beliefs, he’s very well read but very inexperienced, he loves his family, loves himself, is fascinated with one girl in particular, and with the Korean war being fought by kids his age, maybe he does know what’s in store for him.

Similar Titles:

Kill Your Darlings (2013) - The story of Allen Ginsberg during some of his more interesting years.

Dear Eleanor (2016) - Charming and entertaining journey with history, family, friends and an escaped convict.

Best of 2016