I have no idea. This movie looks like it would be incredibly pretentious and cliché. I mean, I liked Logan Lerman in the Percy Jackson movies as well as FURY, but this looked liked it would be trying too hard. Not that I read the book or anything, but it looked like it was trying to be about a young man in love with a crazy girl… that isn’t shown to be crazy… and tries to do well in school? To make matters weirder, this apparently takes place around the Korean War. Very curious what this budding romance tale has to do with the Korean War, but it’s hard to judge a movie before seeing it.
To make matters even more skeptical is the director: James Schamus, also the writer of the movie. I know I go on and on about how projects seem more personal when the writer of the movie gets to direct. But I’m cocking an eyebrow as to whether this man is qualified to direct or even write. Schamus isn’t a name most people would know, mostly because he’s a producer. In that regard, his résumé is pretty expansive what with producing films like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, as well as Ang Lee’s HULK, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and… even this movie? Wow, this guy’s really taking the reigns on this one. Producing, directing, and writing this movie… that’s a lot to take on.
So how does it fare against my indifferent expectations? Is this story really as whiny and full of itself as it appears, or is it secretly a thought-provoking and moving tale?
This is my honest opinion of: INDIGNATION
Based on the book of the same name by author Philip Roth. Set during 1951. Marcus (Logan Lerman) is a young man from New Jersey about to go off to college in Ohio. Upon arrival, he meets his roommates, who prove to be handfuls, but otherwise good guys, he has a job on campus, and continues to be the excelling student he’s always been. But his world is shaken when he meets the beautiful blonde girl, Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), who is revealed to be a promiscuous date with him. Having never been with a woman so sexually open, he begins a passionate romance with Olivia, whom proves to be more than just a pretty face and a smart student, but hides pain from her past.
By God this was a bad day for my movie-watching experience. Yup, another boring one to be ignored.
Okay, similar to EQUITY, performances are fine. In fact, what makes this stand out compared to the previous is that there are some memorable scenes. Particularly anything involving Marcus and Dean Caudwell (Tracy Letts)… all two scenes of them, but those are the best scenes and most stand out performances. Lerman is a fine actor and I hope this role lands him more work in better projects because his talent is very well showcased here.
But again, my compliments end there. Olivia, the borderline obsession of our main character, is literally a hot piece of blond ass that gave him a blowjob in a car and he’s complaining about it. I really wish I could buy into this, “I’m such a good-natured guy that I’ve never thought about women in that way,” act that he puts on. You’re fixated on the blowjob because it was awesome, dude, not uncomfortable. To make matters worse, he’s maintains his good nature throughout the film and believes that Olivia is his great love. This bothers me because there’s nothing to her. Yes, she has a dark past, but we never truly see how it affects her. She represses so much of her inner pain that an emotional explosion at some point was practically gift-wrapped for Schamus to use at some point, but it never happens. Bottom line, I didn’t think she was a compelling character. Attractive looks and quirks don’t equal defined personality.
And oh my god, that mom… I swear, Marcus’ mother Esther (Linda Emond) is probably one of the worst mothers I’ve personally ever seen on film and is undeniably the cardinal sin of the movie. Her husband is starting to develop a bad temper and she’s spoken with a lawyer for a divorce. She tells Marcus this and he convinces her to try and work things out with his dad, for him. Here’s the thing, by this point in the story, Esther briefly met Olivia once and does indeed notice everything that makes Olivia… not of the conventional sort. The next time Marcus and Esther meet, she says that she’s not divorcing his dad. But… she wants something from Marcus in return… that he is to never have anything to do with Olivia. Wow… fucking wow. “Yes, son, I will keep this family together, but I will shred it to pieces if you continue to get your dick sucked by that twat!” And the award for Worst Mother of the Year goes to this bitch. Who fucking acts like this? If you’re unhappy with your marriage, congrats, get a divorce and move on with your life! Don’t drag your son’s relationships, that have nothing to do with your family life, into it! To make matters even fucking worse, IT WORKS!!! He promises her that he won’t be with her. Yeah, he’s not lying to her face and seeing her behind her back, like any normal free-thinking adult would, he makes her that stupid solemn promise. In the name of fucking shit balls, why?!
Look, I harped on EQUITY for boring me out of my mind, but at least there was nothing that downright angered me. It was just a movie that had a story I couldn’t invest in. This… this pissed me off to my very core. The cherry on top of this sundae of horse manure, it barely matters because two scenes later, he’s looking for her! *face-palm*
And that fucking ending… no, Schamus, I wasn’t surprised. You gave it away on your very first line of the movie. Subtlety is not your strong suit. I called it right out of the gate.
I’m sure if you popped open this book, it’s much better and much more in depth about everything. I’m sure it’s heart-warming, insightful, and brilliant. But this movie, is anything but. If you manage to crawl your way through the boring stuff, all you come out to is frustration and a strong desire to throw something heavy and expensive at the screen. At least that’d provide more satisfaction than this movie did. Like I said, a couple scenes stand out and performances are alright, but with no real connection to the romantic interest and the final thirty minutes of this movie being downright unwatchable, I can’t recommend this movie to anyone.
My honest rating for INDIGNATION: 2/5
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX1BTiHzq-I