That dreaded time of week approached again. There was so much on my calendar that I needed to get around to, but unfortunately I was feeling too tired to be of much use to my to-do list. This general state of weariness seems to come around at least once a week, unless I’m particularly disciplined about my sleeping schedule.
So, what did I do? I watched a movie on Netflix.
I guess you could say that this is my default mode of operation. It serves to reason that if I want to review movies I have to keep watching more, but admittedly there is so much more I could be doing at moments like these to re-energize. I could go for a walk. I could take a nap. I could draw or sketch for a while.
But no, human beings are lazy. I try not to be, and generally I’m pretty productive, but recreation should be a part of everyone’s weekly schedule. I’m just not sure that movies are the way to go.
Yeah, yeah, Hesher. I was getting to that.
This movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Hesher), who I am staring to like more and more, though it is more about a young boy who loses his mother named TJ, played by Devin Brochu. Rainn Wilson plays his father (Paul), though this is definitely not a comedic role.
The thing is, if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you, you can relate to the sentiments and some of the occurences in this film. Loss is not easy to cope with, and sometimes it manifests itself externally as lethargy, detachment, and as this movie would have you believe, violence.
Yes, I felt that Hesher was kind of a violent movie. TJ gets bullied and tossed around and banged up more times than you can count. He even gets hit by Hesher’s van.
Hesher himself also doesn’t seem to have much of a filter for what’s appropriate and what’s not. He sets cars on fire and trashes a stranger’s backyard and pool. He even slices off a piece of Dustin’s (played by Brendan Hill; he bullies TJ) nose.
Then there is also a scene where we see the moment of TJ’s mother’s death. It’s seriously jarring.
And, maybe, that’s what I’m really trying to get at. The violence is jarring. I think that’s probably the effect they were going for, and anger is certainly an appropriate reaction to death, but when everything is so gritty and real, it’s almost re-sensitizing.
To Hesher, metal isn’t a style of music; it’s a lifestyle. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see why he becomes the way he does. None of his background is ever revealed. He’s just… Hesher. He leaves destruction in his wake; though he isn’t without some common sense and grasp of reality. He simply doesn’t know when to stop.
Hesher is the most noticeable character in the movie. Though the film never comes out and says it, he’s basically the embodiment of TJ’s anger.
I liked TJ, and I thought Devin Brochu did a great job playing him. Dustin was also a very hate-able character; good on ya Brendan Hill.
The most forgettable supporting role is Nicole, played by Natalie Portman. She sort of serves as the older “love interest” to TJ, but in the end she doesn’t do much besides ease TJ’s pain a little. Her character is altogether too subtle and mysterious to be noticeable.
The primary moral of this film is to appreciate what you’ve got. The movie never really seems to want to hit this nail on the head, and as a viewer you may even wonder where it’s going or what the point is mid-way through. Then you go, oh right, TJ’s mom just passed away.
On the one hand, at least it’s not condescending to the viewer. On the other hand, it weaves in and out of the core message so effectively that you are left wondering if there really was any point.
I will say that the scene where Hesher, TJ and Paul push the grandma’s casket and go for “one final walk” is seriously moving and I even cried a little. I know what it’s like to lose someone.
Now that I think of it, for those who are currently grieving, this movie may hold more immediate relevance.
To sum up, Hesher is a good movie. There’s some good acting in it, and the plot is pretty good too. It effectively relays the sedated feeling you can sometimes feel when you lose someone close.
Where it could have been better is in communicating its message. Hesher shows a lot of potential, but it doesn’t go where it’s seemingly afraid to.
AS Rating: (5 / 10)