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Shrink

  • 2009-09-24
  • By Michael Litvinsky

The doctor is out

Director: Jonas Pate

"Shrink," which is the first major picture of a young and, until now, known mostly for his TV work, director Jonas Pate, it turned out to be quite an interesting product and a noticeable and original unit.
Probably the best thing about "Shrink" is that the director and the crew weren't trying to make a commercially successful product, and you can see it from the very first shot, therefore everyone who has taken part in the movie was thinking mostly about the cultural aspect of it and not about his or her paycheck.

The film tells us the story of a famous psychiatrist, Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey), from L.A., treating Hollywood A-class superstars, who finds himself in a totally devastating condition after the suicide of his wife. Trying to heal his emotional wounds with drugs and alcohol, Henry begins to lose his purpose in life and slowly turns into a person not only incapable to helping others, but also unable to solve his own personal problems.

And so his pain continues to grow, until he meets a girl called Jemma (Keke Palmer), who has also lost her mother and has completely withdrawn into her shell. Healing Jemma helps Henry in reconsidering his own problems, and getting back to normal life.
Along with that, we see a lot of other stories, the stories of Henry's patients and friends 's an out-of-work screenwriter trying to find his way in show business; an unbelievably successful but paranoid and pedantic movie agent; an actor fighting the temptation to cheat on his wife, and many more. The last character, by the way, is very convincingly played by Robin Williams.

Big-name cast, with Spacey taking the lead, and several rising stars, like Mark Weber and Keke Palmer, assisting him the best they can, deliver a solid performance. It is interesting how Spacey has returned to a type of character he played in "K-Pax" and, which you might even call one of his trademark figures. Henry Carter's sarcasm wonderfully combines with his pacifistic attitude towards life, all of which is forced by the serious life drama 's and one, undoubtedly, that is probably the best candidate in Hollywood for such a role.

The music is, like the action on the screen itself, unhurried and chilled, and though it perfectly suits the tempo of the film, it also renders difficulties in paying attention and not getting bored or sleepy. The same is true for the filming 's a lot of static shots with no moving at all kills the tension completely.
Despite the fact that "Shrink" chronicles a very interesting theme 's the healer's life being wounded - the whole crew did a pretty good job; the movie, however, still misses something essential. The viewer clearly sees the lives, the pains and the struggles, but, somehow, with no particular reason, he doesn't feel for any of the characters. Maybe it is because the pace is too slow or, because the characters are, in some way, not engaging 's it is difficult to tell exactly.

However, the movie includes both funny and sorrowful moments, which, to say the least, are   proportioned in the way they should be. This combination makes the movie much more realistic and understandable for the common viewer, still, as I have already mentioned, to understand does not mean to empathize.

So, in the end, I must say that although the creators of the film had all the right ingredients, and mixed them up in the right order and proportion, the result came out a little bit leaden and meager. Still, someone might like it the way it is.

Opens Oct. 2 in Latvia.
 
 

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