Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Details": Deliciously Black Comedy 

Wednesday, Nov 7 2012

Another dark comedy exposing the wormy dirt beneath suburban sod, The Details never lays bare any truths we haven't known since, say, Revolutionary Road — the book. But a gorgeous, pungent shot early on of that sod and those worms and those suburbanites makes clear that even if writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes isn't looking at anything new, he at least has the sharpest of eyes. He has an ear, too. As his top-shelf cast, headed by Tobey Maguire, slips into familiar grooves of adultery, lies, blackmail, and pet poisoning, it's the spectacular blow-ups and dressing-downs that make this such a nervy pleasure: First, Maguire, with his signature Sears catalog blitheness, clashing with Elizabeth Banks, who plays his partner in a long-stale marriage, in a minor squall that with hilarious, out-of-nowhere power kicks up into a hurricane of truths and "fuck you's." Then Maguire versus Ray Liotta, who transcends his tough-guy usual as the husband of a friend (Kerry Washington) with whom Maguire's dope of a doctor protagonist has dallied. Most deliciously, there's Maguire versus the great Laura Linney, here a comic nightmare of a cat-fancying neighbor whose seduction technique — all wild laughs, apple-pie smiles, and inept caresses — might be the funniest thing on screens this fall. As if to justify its own title, The Details is familiar in its plotting but uproarious in its incidents. The lies and threats crackle, the scenes are long and chewy, and Linney goes so far over the top she can see your house from up there. Bonus: There's lots of raccoons.

About The Author

Alan Scherstuhl


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"