Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Drowning

The Drowning
Directed by Bette Gordon
Released May 10, 2017

I had a conversation a few nights ago with a friend about movies and her perspective that they’re supposed to provide entertainment. That can mean any number of different things, but usually it signifies enjoyment and fulfillment, or at the very least something to take your mind off more important matters. That concept isn’t always true, since some movies don’t in fact provide entertainment, but there does need to be something for viewers to tether themselves to while watching. A movie called “The Drowning” was never going to be an uplifting comedy, but it could have been far less miserable than this film turned out.

Psychiatrist Tom Seymour (Josh Charles) and his wife Lauren (Julia Stiles) are out walking one day when they spot a young man jump into the water in an attempt to commit suicide. After Tom saves him, he visits the hospital and realizes that he is Danny Miller (Avan Jogia), a former patient that he treated and then got sent to jail after a murder he committed as a child. As memories of their unsettling encounters flood back to him, Tom finds Danny, now going by a new name, appearing back in his life in a very forceful and unwelcome way that causes great concern for the increasingly distracted and frazzled Tom.

What this film’s title refers to specifically isn’t clear from the start of the film, but it is apparent that Tom is retreating from his life, distancing himself from his wife, who is perfectly charmed by the new young man she meets whose identity she knows nothing about, and immersing himself in a book about the cases that he has overseen over the years. Tom is far from an inviting character, while Danny exudes a frantic, crazed energy that makes him seem dangerously unhinged.

Charles was a very strong part of “The Good Wife” and has made a handful of films since his exit from the show. This shouldn’t be counted high among them, and doesn’t showcase the best of the talented actor. Stiles’ performance is also rather wooden and adds nothing to the film. When it begins, it seems that this story is headed somewhere, but unfortunately it never manages to get there and instead wallows in its own discomfort, offering nothing close to entertainment and achieving little in the way of dramatic or dynamic transformation.


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