The Mend (2014)

JOHN MAGARY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB

USA, 2014. . Screenplay by John Magary. Cinematography by . Produced by , John Magary, . Music by , . Production Design by . Costume Design by Markus Kirschner. Film Editing by .

is a handsome rogue who has just been kicked out of his girlfriend ’s apartment after yet another argument. Wandering the city with his backpack, this freelance web designer who seems to never deliver any finished work and makes no money goes to the only place he can think of, to his brother ‘s apartment in Brooklyn that he shares with fiancée .  The night Lucas arrives, the couple are throwing a party, then the next day they are off on a hiking trip in Nova Scotia, leaving Lucas to bum around the apartment, inviting Owen and her young son to come join him.  Plunkett comes home from his trip early, alone and without explanation, finding himself now dealing with his emotional frustration in a crowded apartment (which actually belongs to director John Magary). Owen, who gives one of the film’s many exceptional performances, does her best to be a good guest but eventually the tension between the brothers, who cover the classic responsible son/wayward disappointment binary, drives her out and leaves them to deal with each other. Because this is an endlessly inventive and refreshingly funny examination of dysfunction, their own friction building up after years of an inability to connect results in a drunken night on the town, interrupting a film shoot and then contending with the aftermath of their activity in the morning.  Magary’s gifted expertise for stakes and surprising redirects, in which nothing ever goes where you expect it, makes a familiar tale feel fresh and alive, giving a spirited and intelligent script to a group of talented actors (with the exception of Sumner, who can’t punch three dimensions out of a character who threatens to be a stock shrew), who all deliver superb work.

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