Detachment (2011) Don’t expect “Dead Poet’s Society” from Tony Kaye



Adrien Brody needs more acknowledgement for his acting. I don’t mean  more accolades or Academy Awards, he needs more scripts that service his talent. Detachment is such a film that shows him  in his own and services all he has to offer.

Detachment is directed by the confrontational Tony Kaye who gave cinema American History X. That very fact alone you should know that Detachment is not a film you watch on a first date or see with your parents. It’s a film that puts a magnifying glass on a substitute teacher in a bottom end high school.

In the film you watch a lot of people within the school dealing with their own issues nearing boiling point. You can see the boiling jug of issues with characters whether they are students, teachers, the guidance counsellor or the Principal. Adrien Brody plays Henry Barthes – the substitute teacher  and is thick skinned to his outer world around him but his inner world is crumbling with how to react to a dying Grandfather, a teen prostitute and the overweight student at school.

Y’know it’s funny, I spend a lot of time trying to not have to deal… to not really commit. I’m a substitute teacher, there’s no real responsibility to teach. Your responsibility is to maintain order, make sure nobody kills anybody in your classroom, and then they get to their next period.           –  Henry Barthes


The film stars Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan and Lucy Liu in supporting roles. They add weight to the film however some of Brody’s direct to the camera dialogue resonate alongside his substitute teacher’s choices. You watch a film that examines a problem that news headlines doesn’t want you to see, yet  it is what teachers around the globe have to deal with everyday. Watch this rough edgy drama. It’s only 90 minutes out of your life and you may see Tony Kaye’s vision and why he wants you to see it.



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