I wrote the following on 1.25.11 after catching Jacob Aron Estes‘ The Details at Sundance: “[The film] is about things going badly for a Seattle-residing doctor and family man (Tobey Maguire), in part due to his own poor decisions but also because of horrible pre-ordained luck — fate or God or some overpowering force simply being against him.
“A similar theme drove the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man — God doesn’t care, and He might even be messing with you because He’s a perverse mofo possessed of a sick sense of humor.
“Cosmic disfavor or annoyance is clearly indicated in the very first scene. Maguire is shown sitting alone in front of an office building when all of a sudden a large piano falls from above, flattening him. We all know what it means when anything falls from the sky in a movie (like the frogs in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Magnolia) — i.e., someone up there is in a bad or perverse mood or is in some way displeased.
“So during this morning’s q & a I asked Estes if he could express what his film is saying theologically, in 25 words or less. He said that God isn’t really in his film and that we all create our fate or destiny with our choices and our character. That struck me as blatantly dishonest given his use of the falling piano, but maybe I’m being too strict about this.”
Boilerplate synopsis: After ten years of marriage, Jeff and Nealy Lang (Maguire, Elizabeth Banks) have an idyllic suburban home…and a relationship on the skids. But, when a family of hungry raccoons ransacks their perfectly manicured backyard, Jeff becomes single-mindedly obsessed with eradicating the pests by any means necessary.
“Soon the relentless rodents aren’t merely uprooting the lawn, but also overturning the Langs’ entire bourgeois existence, as the man-versus-beast battle leads into an absurd mess of infidelity, extortion, organ donation and other assorted mayhem. Devilish throughout, The Details also stars Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haysbert and Kerry Washington.
The Details will be available on VOD on 10.5.12 and in theaters on 11.2.12.
Directed and Writtten by: Jacob Aaron Estes
Starring: Tobey Maquire, Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haysbert and Kerry Washington