Adam Moody’s review:
I deem Tony Kaye's new film, Detachment, the first great film of the year. He is the Terrence Malick of indie dramas; exploring ever fiber of our society and how it functions with characters that provide the rawest of emotional resonance. Set in an extremely dramatic representation of a troubled school and inhabiting it with people with universal personalities. The outside look of their personalities may seem cliched, but that notion is quickly dissolved once the exploration of their mindsets and beliefs begins.
I am sure many of you have heard critics describing Adrien Brody's performance as the best since The Pianist, but this surely isn't the first time we have heard that. But, now, take it from me, this performance reaches the level of his Oscar-winning performance in The Pianist. He plays a substitute teacher who voyeurs his way through the world with essentially no emotional connection to anything. Everything changes for him when he takes a job at a school crumbling before itself and develops a relationship with a teenage prostitute. 16-year-old actress Sami Gayle makes her feature film debut playing a role that we have seen done countless times, but she brings a typical role to life with her tragic innocence and delightfully mature acting abilities. There is also a treat of an ensemble supporting cast that includes Christina Hendricks, James Caan, Marcia Gay Harden and Lucy Liu.
The setting may be a school and the direct issues it addresses may pertain to the school and its students, but its real intentions and views reach far beyond a lone high school and reach out to our entire society. There is only one "flaw" this film has is that it tries too hard and too dramatically to evoke the issues, but is that really a flaw? I say not, sometimes we need the problems to be thrown in our face to finally get us to acknowledge them. Detachment at its most profound is an exploration of the minds of the normal people living in the world who are struggling to deal with the brutal realities we are all faced with, along with trying to find purpose when existence often feels pointless and futile. Few viewers will enjoy the dark subjects, blunt ideas and dramatic presentation, but every last one of us can understand and relate to what the film shows and offers us.