Don McKay (Blu-Ray)
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DON MCKAY - Blu-Ray Movie
There's urban noir, like Night and the City, and suburban noir, like Double Indemnity. With Don McKay, Jake Goldberger puts his stamp on the latter, offering a sad-sack janitor (producer Thomas Haden Church), who returns to his East Coast hometown when he learns that his old girlfriend, Sonny (Elisabeth Shue), has a terminal illness. Sonny, who spends her days in shiny negligees, wants to get back together, which suits Don just fine, though he has his doubts about Dr. Pryce (James Rebhorn), and Marie (Melissa Leo, stealing every scene), Sonny's live-in nurse, who both act more like jealous lovers than medical professionals. When Pryce tries to strangle Don, he kills the man in self-defense and hides the body, turning to his friend, Otis (Keith David), for help, since the police aren't likely to believe him due to the events of the past (Goldberger withholds the details until the end). In the meantime, Don puts up with Sonny's tempestuous seduction act until he can't take it anymore, but escaping her clutches proves unexpectedly difficult, especially once blackmailer Mel (Pruitt Taylor Vince) enters the scene. As in the melodramas of yore, characters say the most preposterous things, but Goldberger keeps you guessing as to their real motives. If he casts Church and Shue against type, that only deepens the central mystery, though the star comes off better than his leading lady, who sometimes seems lost. Still, their talents ensure that the writer-director's debut doesn't slide into farce--though it sure comes close. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The movie starts off as a thriller with a slow fuse, with the film evolving into a black comedy in the final half hour. While Don Mckay isn't as well-written or interesting as a Coen Brothers film, it scores points for throwing the audience curveballs. I thought the story was obvious and predictable, until the conclusion approached. There's simply no way that you can predict how the story will unfold or conclude.
The best part of Don Mckay is the cast. Elisabeth Shue is gorgeous as Sonny, Don Mckay's old girlfriend who conveniently wears seductive sleepwear for most of the movie (I'm not complaining). Keith David (the Imam in Pitch Black) gives a nice performance as Mckay's buddy Otis Kent, though he unfortunately doesn't get much screen time. The movie is also rounded out with performances by veteran actors Pruitt Taylor Vince, M. Emmet Walsh, and James Rebhorn. The standout performance in the movie is by Melissa Leo (Frozen River), who is spectacular as Marie, Sonny's caregiver. I was a bit disappointed by Thomas Haden Church's performance in the lead role. It may have been intentional for Mckay to be a shell of a man, but Church has the same expression on his face for almost the entire movie. Also, the cinematography by first-time director Jake Goldberger is decent, and I enjoyed the film score by Steven Bramson.
While Don Mckay is basically a straight-to-video movie, it's much better than your typical Redbox rental. It won't have you on the edge of your seat the whole time, but it still offers a great cast and an unpredictable ending.
This is Thomas Hayden Church's production so he must have seen something here. The question is what. He must have also seen something in the McKay character but that seems elusive as well. He wears a particular expression on his face throughout nearly the entire movie but I can't quite pin it. Is he dumb? Is he dumbfounded? Is he in a constant state of amazement? Whatever, it wears thin rather quickly. The plot does keep you on your toes and I really wanted to find out what the entire thing was about, and in that sense it was quite satisfying. In the third act they drop the weirdness and the film takes a sudden turn for the straight. All the cards are on the table and the plot knots get, well.....unknotted.
The acting is decent. Elizabeth Shue isn't at her best but, as I'd pay to watch eat cornflakes, it didn't slow my enjoyment. The production values were good enough to get the point across. The one thing that really threw me were the songs. They seemed to have nothing to do with what was happening and did absolutely nothing to enhance or underscore what was happening on the screen.
This isn't a bad movie by any means and I didn't find myself looking at my watch. But if you don't get to see a lot of movies, I wouldn't put this high on my list.
I thought this movie was just alright and has adequate suspense and intrigue to keep things interesting. Each character was shady and this angle made the movie interesting. In many ways it reminded me of a short story or a play adapted for the big screen. Thomas Haden Church as the clueless character was great and the rest of the characters provided him support. While this may not be the best of suspenseful movies, it was still watchable and the final frame offered closure. Three stars. 01/02/11