Saturday, 18 February 2012

Hesher, dir. Spencer Susser, scr. Spencer Susser, David Michôd, st. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu

Hesher clearly has lofty aims as a stoner tale of redemption, though like the titular character, the film is so aimless that the overall package proves to be something of a curate's egg. Gordon-Levitt almost - almost - manages to unshackle himself from the bonds of nice-guy typecasting with a nuanced performance that seemingly brings together all the divine rage and unearthly physicality of an earth-bound guardian angel with the apathy and chaos of a homeless waster unaware of his own mortality. Similarly delicately shaded is Wilson as recently widowed Paul Forney, a mass of drug-induced grief and resignation, as his son T. J. (Brochu, turning in a frightened, emotionally confused portrayal of young pained anguish a gazillion light-years ahead of Thomas Horn's performance of a similarly drawn character in Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close) alternates between a miserable bullied existence at school and days spent scooting around on his bike trying to reclaim his Mother's wrecked car from the scrapyard via tepid stirrings of first love directed at checkout assistant Nicole (Portman). More often than not, Hesher is uncertain of what kind of film it wants to be, and though it gives the story a much needed adrenaline boost of humanity in the last act, the sentimentality comes off as forced and unrealistic.