Manic (2001) – Review

After an act of extreme aggression during a baseball game and a perverse, uncooperative interview with a psychiatrist (Don Cheadle), Lyle (Joseph Gorden-Levitt) find himself placed into a psychiatric ward. While in the ward, Lyle befriends Chad, an insecure rich kid, Lauren (Zooey Deschanel), a withdrawn, unsociable girl whom suffers from recurring night terrors, and Kenny, Lyle’s roommate who masks his experiences through silence and solitude.

As well as creating new friendships and influences, Lyle also has the misfortune of creating an enemy in Mike-an all affecting bully who, though pallid and gout, speaks as if he were the toughest gangbanger on the street and often finds himself in conflict with the other residents of ward as well.

 

 

 

 

Manic is told in a unique documentary style which creates an interesting dynamic as it feeds on and creates drama and realism. Throughout the film, the viewer gains a deep sense of perspective through the portrayal of each character and his or her state of mind as they find themselves hidden away from a world that doesn’t understand them.

Each cast member show unbelievable strength in their own respective performance though it is most notably the craftsmanship of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his portrayal of an angered adolescent male searching for meaning and understanding that is a stand-out. He, however, is out performed by the always magnificent Don Cheadle. As the ward’s psychiatrist, Cheadle portrays a man whose endeavors to save his patients are wearing thin the fine threads of hope he has in them, his aptitude of refining them, himself, and life.

The film explores the life of its characters through emotional confrontations and person opinion. Manic’s cinematography is not anything of the special sort, but it is effective in its simplicity and does succeed, to some degree, in the telling of the story in which it belongs. All this, creates a raw, atmospheric presentation which excites the film’s sense of reality in profound, unexpected ways.

With strong performances and evocative, albeit at times vapid, individual character studies told in a unique documentary perspective, Manic is a film worthy of attention.

7/10

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One Response to Manic (2001) – Review

  1. Nice review although you could’ve written more.

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