Detachment is the type of film that is interesting, but no one can say that it is fun. He deals with many social issues without giving offered answers and proposed solutions, but he succeeds in his intention to make the viewer aware of many problems that society faces when it comes to the educational system. Tony Kaye, author of American History X, with plenty of beautiful images, an interesting and almost poetic narrative, and great acting gives you another drama that will make you imagine.
Adrien Brody plays Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher who believes he has the perfect job because he doesn’t have to deal with the burden of identifying in front of his students, so he can easily travel from one school to another without emotional attachment to them. The fact that he travels often helps him deal with disturbing memories from his past that he does not want to talk about – he is a quiet, lonely and sad man. His life changes when he gets a job at a very problematic school run by Carol Dearden (Marcia Gay Harden). Henry identifies with individual students and professors, each of whom struggles with some personal difficulty and, although he struggles with the need to be isolated from people, he begins to connect with them.
Tony Kay’s films have strength and make you think, and Detachment is no exception. This time, he deals with one of the most important problems of any society, education, and tries to present whether parents or teachers are more responsible for its success. Probably both, but unfortunately, no one manages to improve the general picture because it is generally known that society is at a loss and that education is on a downward trajectory.
Children look for value systems elsewhere or establish some of their own values based on what friends think of them, while overworked or uninterested parents and teachers generally do nothing to restore traditional systems. The conclusion is that teachers and parents have a really great responsibility, and as Brody says in one of the great monologues in the film, there should be stricter preconditions for parenthood and no one should be allowed too much.
Karl Lund’s debut screenplay is great. He manages to convey his message between the lines, and yet making sure that anyone who puts in a little effort can understand the real meaning of the film. This is not a film about school or education, but about the general disinterest and apathy that reigns in modern society, making everyone happy with the minimum of what life gives them, without a sense of caring for others. Tony Kay’s films have a glimmer of hope and optimism in them, but the fact is that you will welcome the end of the film with a mild tone of hopelessness and sadness.
Adrien Brody is a very talented actor and, despite winning the Oscar for Pianist, I think he is still underestimated in Hollywood. His hero encounters a lot of characters who have little or no sense of self-worth and in a way Brody teaches them not to value their values according to the expectations or values of others. There are very strong and striking scenes in the film, as well as strong dialogues. Above all, mention should be made of James Caan and Christina Hendricks, as well as Lucy Liu, who carries, in my opinion, the strongest scene in the film. Remember the name of Sami Gayle, who, given her acting in this project, represents the future of Hollywood.
If you are a fan of movies that start thinking with very persistent characters, this is the right choice for you. Great drama that everyone should watch.