Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A basic synopsis: Farrell plays Nick Halsey a Regional Sales Manager in his 40's. The film opens with Nick getting fired, not because of downsizing or poor performance, but because of repeated long term absences from work over the years for substance abuse treatment culminating in an apparently devastating binge incident while on a recent business trip. Nick returns home to find everything he owns on the front lawn of his beautiful suburban home; wife gone, locks changed, car repossessed, cell phone disconnected and bank accounts frozen. After a trip to the local store to stock up on beer, Nick camps out amongst his worldly possessions, nowhere to turn but inward. Insightful relationships with neighbors act as a catalyst for forward momentum as well as provides back-story and depth to Nick's character. The heartbreaking feature of this film is the miraculously underplayed tragedy of Nick's circumstances. It's obvious from scene one that Nick is a nice guy who when drunk finds himself in trouble - the problem is Nick can't go a full day without drinking. The only solution is to sell what he possesses and try to move on with his life, alcohol free.
There are many moments of subtle beauty and intelligence in this film. Farrell revises his famous George Bush accent to a slight Texan twang, having an effect which is two fold: 1) This reminds the audience that he is a comedian who successfully satirised a controversial public figure and 2) a play on the former presidents famous alcoholism. Nick befriends another lost soul of sorts in a young husky kid who has nothing to do but wander around the neighborhood all day on his bike. Putting him to work on his "yard sale" Nick is no doubt a defeated yet generous and lovable character. The real foe, alcoholism, becomes more of a character than a personality trait as Nick's innocence and befuddled bafflement are juxtaposed against inexperienced wonderment of an impressionable youth.