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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

THE GLASS MAN -- Movie Review by Porfle

Starting out downbeat and just getting more depressing as it goes along, the intermittently interesting THE GLASS MAN (2011) is almost as much of a chore for the viewer as it is for its terminally hard-luck protagonist.

Andy Nyman of KICK-ASS 2 plays young executive Martin Pyrite (pyrite of course means "fool's gold", a surprisingly on-the-nose reference), who's just been fired from his company where he's now a scapegoat and a pariah. Tens of thousands of pounds in debt, the increasingly desperate Martin hopes for a miracle while trying to keep the news from his pampered wife Julie (Neve Campbell).

Anyone who's been in financial straits will not only identify with this but may also find it uncomfortable to watch. But it gets worse. Julie turns a cold shoulder to Martin when she suspects him of cheating on her with a co-worker, leading to a long bedroom scene with him tearfully blubbering to her as she's passed out on sleeping pills while maudlin piano music pounds away on the soundtrack. Hard to watch, right?

But it gets worse. Later that night, a very big, very scary debt collector named Pecco (James Cosmo, THE LAST LEGION, "Game of Thrones") shows up at his door demanding immediate payment for a debt that he's just bought from someone else. Martin's broke, of course, so Pecco offers him a way out--he'll erase the debt if Martin helps him do a few "things."

James Cosmo, you'll probably recall, was the biggest, scariest guy in BRAVEHEART, and when Pecco starts to intimidate Martin with his mere overbearing presence, you believe it. Needless to say, Martin finds himself going along with the plan and driving Pecco to some potentially horrible date with crime.

I don't know whether to call it "suspense" or just plain "dread", but by now it's starting to get pretty much unbearable for any viewer who can sympathize with Martin's plight. Still, it's an interesting situation with plenty of potential, especially when the relationship between the two men starts going in unexpected directions.

But then, from out of nowhere, there comes a big plot twist. I can't even talk about it, it's such a plot twist. It's the kind of plot twist that either makes the movie a whole lot better, or just makes you go "Huh?"

After that, the interesting direction in which the story seemed to be headed just sort of petered out, and what was meant to make it more unpredictable had the opposite effect. I still wanted to see how it all turned out, but mainly out of morbid curiosity.

Writer-director Cristian Solimeno, who's also an actor (MOTHER OF TEARS, RUSH) and plays the part of an eccentric old friend from whom Martin tries to borrow money, directs the film as though we're seeing everything from Martin's dazed, off-kilter perspective.

Performances are fine, particularly Nyman's jittery little schlub and Cosmo's intimidating ogre. Neve Campbell is good although she doesn't really have much to do besides act spoiled, bitchy, and asleep in turns.

I can't really say I enjoyed THE GLASS MAN, even though it's a well-made film that managed to hold my interest even when I wanted to bail out. But it's also a pretty unpleasant slog through unrelieved depression, so if you're in the mood for a feelgood popcorn flick you'll probably want to set this one aside for another time.

Runtime: 108 minutes
Format: 1:85 Flat
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Language: English


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