*Review based on a free copy provided by Amazon – buy it here
A stellar cast feature in this unusual little film – an interesting slow burner raised by strong performances and a coolly distant direction. It’s a 3 star movie lifted to four thanks to the cast, and depending on whether or not you let yourself be pulled into the story. Cillian Murphy stars in a dual role (or triple role if we want to be accurate), playing both a man and woman, ostensibly husband and wife. Everything seems to be going perfect – John (Murphy) is a shy, quiet Bank employee with a split personality disorder whose quiet life is interrupted by a train crash in his back yard – he just happens to be dressed as a woman at the time as his other persona Emma. Bringing in some of the town’s political power players and media attention neither personality wants, Emma begins to come out of her shell more and take over John’s body. When Ellen Page’s single mother Maggie enters the fray, secrets are revealed and a war of wits ensues.
Curious, or interesting are perhaps the best ways to describe the film, rather than thought-provoking; curious rather than engaging. The main leads do a great job in their respective roles, including Sarandon and some of the lesser characters – but overall the movie sinks or swims on the power of Murphy’s performance. Murphy’s John is constantly on edge, visibly close to some explosive physical outburst, while Emma is cool, sly, calculating, though both personalities grow and shift throughout the film. Page is reliable as always, though here her usual skills are restrained showing a different side to what we have come to expect. I wasn’t aware of Director Michael Lander, yet this debut is assured ans skillful – he is in command and evokes a grim tone and sense of uncertainty as the film progresses (the score helps) and he manages to maintain a coherent plot which could easily have slipped into nonsense. It’s not likely to be one which many will ever see, and I wouldn’t quite categorize it as a cult movie, but for those looking for something a little different, and for fans of the cast, it’s one to give a go.
Have you seen Peacock? Let us know what you thought in the comments!