Thursday, April 28, 2011
One of the bigger mystery films of 2010 finally found a theater near me. "Hesher" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2010 and various other festivals including SXSW in March 2011. It wasn't until "Inception" and "Black Swan" were big hits for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman, respectively, that this movie started to receive any attention. This is the debut feature from Spencer Susser who did double duty as the writer/director.
This is a film about a snake that is given a mouse to feed on, but the mouse gets up on its back legs and punches the snake in the face. The snake is left coiled up in the corner of the film where Hesher, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "mind fucks" it over and over again until it attacks the mouse. Other mice are put into the snake cage, but are protected behind the stronger mouse. "Hesher" is also a movie about how through life we may lose a loved one and that person may be such a big part of us that we forget how to move on. You want to hate Hesher, but you are oddly attracted to him.
The story is focused around TJ, a young boy played by Devin Brochu, who is coping with the recent loss of his mother. His family life has been shattered by the polarizing coping methods used by his father, Rainn Wilson, who has checked out by taking strong anti-depressant drugs. TJ is bullied at school and comes across Hesher, a loner that hates the world but with a never-say-die and carefree approach to life. At times I wondered if Hesher was real or just an imaginary friend that TJ created to cope with his loss, which would be a rip-off of "Fight Club".
The other mouse that hides behind Hesher is Nicole (Natalie Portman) who doesn't really shine in this role as a loser with no self esteem. She is almost a throw away character. The shining star of the movie is the grandmother (Piper Laurie) who isn't entirely there mentally, but is pure and honest and gains the respect of Hesher right away. The connection between the two of them is one that cannot be manufactured and is a testament to the acting and emotion that Piper Laurie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt deliver on the screen. Hesher asks the question... "what is green, slimy and smells like bacon?"... find out at the bottom of the posting.
This film is amazingly original and while I don't think it will ever see a large audience, I hope that everyone will hunt this down in a theater or on DVD and check it out. Give "Hesher" a chance to say what is on its mind and you will learn something from it. We should never go through life accepting the status quo or ignoring our emotions, instead we should embrace life and live; and if you make a promise to someone you better follow through with it. 3 Quacks and a solid rock anthem.
(screaning date 4/27/11, release date 5/13/11, location Landmark E Street)
ANSWER: Kermit the Frog's finger