Dir: Tony Kaye
With: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks
Running time: 93 minutes
THIS take on the inspirational teacher tale is a clear case of a film having its heart in the right place but being too tush-achingly trendy for its own good.
Adrien Brody plays Henry, a substitute teacher sent into a school where the pupils have taken over the asylum and the teachers, played by a cast that includes James Caan (in a small, perfectly performed role) and Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, are in despair.
Henry is also despondent, particularly about his ailing grandfather, but he copes by walling himself off emotionally. As he becomes more involved with this new school and a young woman he saves from the streets, even Henry's ability to detach from reality comes under strain.
Shot in part in a faux documentary style, Tony Kaye's picture wants so badly to show how awful life is in some American schools it goes well over the top and loses credibility.
The attempt to "tell it like it is" sits oddly with the highly stylised air of the piece, black and white still shots, Brody's catwalk model looks, and all.
If there was an exam in designer misery, Detachment would score an A.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (15) HH
Dir: Lorene Scafaria
With: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley
Running time: 101 minutes
WHAT would you do if an asteroid was heading to Earth and apocalypse wasn't so much now but in a few weeks' time?
Chances are this comedy drama from Lorene Scafaria (writer of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) would not be on your list of movies to watch again.
Steve Carell and Keira Knightley are the odd pair thrown together on a double quest – he wants to meet his high school sweetheart again, she's desperate to find a flight back home to Britain. Carell is the perfect fit for this type of bleak, gentle, hangdog comedy, and Knightley initially provides endearingly kooky support as the Brit all at sea, but the picture eventually sinks under the weight of its original idea and becomes simply depressing. An end of the world comedy? A concept too far in this case.