‘The Details’ Movie Review – Dark, Dark Comedy
The devil is certainly in the details. Jacob Aaron Estes’ The Details doesn’t even try to dance around the idiom. Starring Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks, Estes presents a very dark and very, very funny story…to make for a quirky experience. If you’re sick of the same ol’ stories, take a break and see The Details, there’s a good chance you’ll agree it’s a different kind of movie.
Set in Seattle (it’s pretty awesome literally seeing the theater you’re in while watching it), the narrator tells us right away that everything is his fault. With a lack of subtlety comes genuine curiosity because it’s our job to connect a plant, some poison, a baby, some pills, a kidney, and salami with the story. You’re probably thinking it can’t be done, but The Details will prove you wrong.
The “him” in this story is Jeff (Maguire) who is a genuinely (I think) nice guy that has a set of extraordinary (and unfortunate) things go completely awry. There are initially cracks in his relationship with his wife (Banks), but that all changes when he meets his bizarre neighbor (Laura Linney). When one decision leads to the next, he surely doesn’t realize the extent of the chain reaction.
This chain reaction involves his best girl friend (Kerry Washington) and his buddy Lincoln (Dennis Haysbert) among others. While it may start with simple lies, the story turns into a darkly comidic tale of infidelity, death, and much more. It really boils down to karma, though, but can Jeff escape his “karma wheel-of-fate?”
Besides 2009’s Brothers, Maguire has avoided the limelight since the debacle that was Spider-Man 3, and I’ll admit it was tough to get emo Spider-man out of my head. Eventually, it does happen, though. Maguire’s performance was spot-on, too, which helped relieve the apprehension.
Also on their best was Linney, who was a face I recognized but not a name I knew. She’s definitely got the best performance, but maybe that’s because her character is so diverse, making her a perfect fit for the dark tone.
My personal favorite moment comes at the climax, though, which I’ll obviously keep you unspoiled on. I’ll just say that I haven’t seen dark comedy work so well in a long, long time. It’s a classic moment where we laugh because we don’t know what else to do. It shouldn’t be funny, but it’s almost impossible to keep yourself from at least chuckling.
Yes, this has a tendency to detract from the emotional connection with the film, but I really don’t think the movie is trying to be this grandiose tearjerker. When a movie treats deceit, sex, and death like this, you can’t expect to have this huge emotional epiphany. Instead, step back and enjoy the awkward humor for exactly what it is: entertainment.
Black comedy, when done well, can be some of the best comedy. While there is still something missing from The Details, it’s surely not the uniqueness or humor. Maguire, Banks, Ray Liotta, and especially Linney give some great performances in a truly different movie. The devil is in the details and trying to cover up these details may truly be impossible…but that didn’t keep me from being thoroughly entertained.
The Details doesn’t technically release into theaters until November 2nd, but you can watch it now through Video On Demand services.
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