Detachment (2011)

I’ve said this quite often but the truth is the truth. One of the things I enjoy about watching movies from my collection is that I chance upon a movie which leaves me stunned because of the sheer brilliance it contains. I don’t usually write about something that I’ve seen unless it compels me to. Detachment is a film that I should’ve seen the moment it released. However as the old adage and cliché goes, it’s better to be late than never.

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Detachment is a film about a substitute teacher teaching in a school of misfits of society. Our protagonist, Adrien Brody, is a man who has holed up all his emotions in a bottle, put the lid on it and thrown it in some vacant space of his consciousness. He is a good man troubled by the burden of his past trying to make the world a better place in his own way. Much like a warrior trying to win a war in spite of knowing that he is fighting a lost battle. Arguably one of the best characters I think that has been written till date. Brody plays the melancholic brooding teacher who is trying to deal with the problems of a bunch of high school students along with his own to perfection.

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How many times have we been that person who is afraid to accept who they are because of the lack of a comforting word or a compassionate hug? A person who is made to believe that they are nothing but a burden to society. The film beautifully shows a section of people who believe that these children deserve no special treatment while another who are trying their best to let these kids rise from the mediocrity of their parents and become happy figures in life.

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Tony Kaye, the famed director of American History X has beautifully woven a story laced with multiple perspectives. There is Brody’s character, the abused kid who believes in making a buck by riding with strangers on a bus, the grandfather who is trapped in the horrors of his past, the fat kid in school who’s own father and others make fun of trying to find solace in her creativity, the once an idealist educator being kicked out of her job, the veteran teacher who tries to impart goodness in his own way, the school psychologist whose constant endeavour is trying to understand the problems of the children. The casting is brilliant as you will understand once you see the actors playing the above mentioned characters.

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Detachment’s underlying message lies in the fact that teachers are hugely responsible for shaping up the youth of any country. Of course it also depends on the person choosing the vocation only if they believe in it. The responsibility that educators carry on their shoulders is huge. Teachers are people who should not just be concerned with finishing the state curriculum but also believe in guiding students to tackle the problems of the world. People who opt to be teachers are usually choosing to be in a thankless profession. The profession demands too much of them. But once you enter this world you choose to be selfless.

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The editing is one of the highlights of the movie. Though it’s only 98 mins long, by the end of it you feel as if you’ve seen so much. I’ll be honest, it’s an intense movie. Don’t watch this expecting a rosy ending where everyone goes home happy. Like American History X it is a thoughtful movie. It’ll send you home with many questions in the end.

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When I saw the film I wanted to say so much more. However now that I’m nearing the end of this post, I realise Detachment deserves more than just words. It is a film that should be seen by as many people as possible. Download it, rent a DVD or just ask me but watch Detachment at the earliest opportunity you get.



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