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Igby Goes Down /

Rated: R

Starring: Kieran Culkin, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Susan Sarandon, Bill Pullman  

Directed by: Burr Steers 

Produced by: Marco Weber, Lisa Tornell 

Written by: Burr Steers 

Distributor: MGM/UA

Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     Igby Goes Down is a brilliant coming-of-age film, confidently exhibited through the work of a fledging filmmaker. The political theories, raging dialogue, and incoherent personalities are a riot, and are superbly written. They are extremely democratic, as well. I am a Republican, and in many ways, the film plays fun at this. But, the warped point of view on my political party offered tremendous cracks, and countless grins. Viewers’ opinions on politics and life in general will not interfere with the impact that Igby Goes Down puts on their shoulders. Their opinions will only affect the way that this impact is put upon them. This is a beautifully mystifying and inspiring work, and an often comical one, as well. Writer/director Burr Steers is a creatively witty genius.

     Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin) is a rebellious and defiant teenager. His eccentric family is constantly shipping him off, from private school to private school, in various locations on the east-coast. When he has been kicked out of, literally, all of these academic institutions, his pill-popping mother sends him to military school. Igby does not last long here. Before long, he cannot take the torture that this disciplined and confined place brings him. And, in his family’s last resort, ends up in rehab. Soon after, he escapes to the Bohemian underworld of Manhattan, and perfects the admirable look of the hobo. Here, he takes shelter in the studio of his godfather D.H.’s (Jeff Goldblum) artistic (though she has never painted a single thing in her life) mistress, Rachel (Amanda Peet). With his brother, Ollie Slocumb (Ryan Phillipe), out to find him, Igby must be especially careful going about his everyday life. In Manhattan, many things change his perception on the world. The most predominant being his newfound and inspiring girlfriend, Sookie Sapperstein (Claire Danes); the only person he really understands.

     The performances in Igby Goes Down are its best feature. Kieran Culkin, who plays Igby, is extremely comfortable acting in coming-of-age films. In The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, another film in the genre to which he lends his talents, Culkin proves that he is a darned good actor. I think in his next film, however, he must prove that he is somewhat versatile and look outside of the genre. Igby is a marvelous character, who will bring a smile to each and every one of his viewer’s faces. Susan Sarandon plays his paranoid mother, who will never pass up the chance to consume some over-the-counter medicine. Sarandon is fabulously comedic in her performance’s execution, and flawlessly showcases her many talents in this fabulously snaky supporting role. In the small amount of screen time that he is allotted, Bill Pullman shines. He plays Igby’s father, who is put in a mental institution, after a breakdown he has before taking the child to elementary school (this is shown through a flashback, where Culkin’s brother, Rory, plays Igby). With a slightly larger role, Ryan Phillipe definitely suits the liberally-written part of Igby’s Brother, Ollie. Phillipe captures such a gleeful perspective on this young [Rebublican] politician; one can simply not deny that his performance is anything short of miraculous. Amanda Peet and Claire Danes gracefully play the roles of young Igby’s sexual relations. Igby Goes Down is a film that expresses the corruptness of the new generation. This is, most of the time, conceived through sex. While watching this seventeen year-old’s bed-bearing habits, this aspect is, definitely convincing, though.

     Igby Goes Down was written and directed by Burr Steers. To be perfectly honest, his work on the film is nothing short of amazing. The writing is provoking, and merges a combination of satire, creativity, and political awareness. I was fully engaged in the profoundness of the material, and almost began to religiously study it, during the duration of the film. The shots are careful posed within the direction, and they alone, are worth seeing the movie for. Each intricacy in Igby Goes Down is mystically arousing, for its deep perception on life as it stands. Derived from what are clearly true feelings and experiences, author Steers’ is able to endeavor us in the involving and conflictive premise. I look forward to his work in the future, because of its simple beauty and excellence.

     In its own, beautiful way, Igby Goes Down is an exuberant and well-crafted film. I am overjoyed by its tremendous success. In a deep, compassionate sense, this is a flick that has it all. Writer/director Burr Steers gives it an infallibly deep complexion that will tamper with the minds in the audience. Performances by Bill Pullman, Amanda Peet, Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillipe, and Claire Danes, help it tremendously. Because of these talented actors and actresses, I am able to deem it an exceptionally moving coming-of-age drama. Intuitively intelligent; Igby Goes Down is an astonishingly stunning onscreen knockout.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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