Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Keane (2004) stars Damian Lewis as William Keane, a man struggling mentally and emotionally over the loss of his daughter. Maybe.

We're not certain, you see, because Keane is losing it, big time. The loss (or perceived loss) due to abduction is so devastating that one year later he searches daily the area she was last seen, hoping to find clues to where she might be. He reads every scrap of paper he finds on the street, hoping that one might be a letter she has written him, with information about how to find her. He looks in every car that passes by for her, and asks strangers on the street if they have seen her. Just in case.

Keane is a really interesting film for a couple of reasons. First, most folks--and particularly parents--can empathize with the loss of a child due to abduction. Nothing from the moment a child is abducted--not one goddamned thing--would matter, except for the return of the missing child. How this would effect the mental health of the parent is the other interesting part of this movie. Has the tragedy caused the emotional breakdown that Keane is experiencing? Or, is the tragedy simply a part of his mental illness, and didn't occur at all?

The movie is dark, and disturbing. There is no soundtrack, and has few supporting characters. While the movie is pretty simple in design, the pace is desperate and frantic. Damian Lewis is terrific in the lead role, drawing the audience into his pain and angst with minimal and subtle acting. The viewer feels what Keane is experiencing, from the opening to the close. And the ending offers few answers regarding a conclusion, because there really will be none; William Keane is dramatically and permanently changed due to whatever experience he had, and nothing will fix what he has become as a result.

Keane isn't for everyone, but I really liked it. Be prepared to be a bit depressed after seeing it, though. ***

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