The Merry Gentleman

Posted April 30, 2009 in Film

Michael Keaton makes his directorial debut with an odd, dispassionate romance between a battered wife on-the-run (Kelly Macdonald) and a misanthropic hitman (Keaton). After the strangers cross paths during an assassination, Keaton tracks down Macdonald and introduces himself as a friendless loner named Frank, which is in fact the truth, leaving out the part where he kills people for money. (In Keaton’s defense, screenwriter Ron Lazzeretti drops the subplot, too.) Drawn together by their shared secrecy and silence, the couple creep towards what we’re meant to emotionally invest in as a great romance, but on the surface doesn’t look like much—over months, they never kiss, rarely smile and continue referring to the other as “a friend.” Scottish actress Macdonald made her major stateside entrance playing Josh Brolin’s doomed wife in No Country for Old Men, and continues on in her streak of playing cloying, vulnerable beauties more listless than fascinating. Walled out from having any insight into her or Keaton’s inner conflict, we’re always aware of watching characters—not people—languish through the usual indie ennui.


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