It's the inevitable spiral effect: what begins with raccoons will eventually end in murder. Tobey Maguire stars in The Details, a surprisingly entertaining film where its biggest fault is its generically awful title. The movie also stars Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington, Ray Liotta, Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert.
Maguire plays Jeff, a sexually frustrated husband whose life is put into a downward spiral after a family of raccoons tears up his lawn. He ends up accidentally killing his crazy neighbor's cat and sleeping with his friend's wife, but that's just the beginning of what is to come.
The Details is one of those quaint little films that never appears as if it wants to be anything more than it is. The title alone all but diminishes its chances at making much money, but the picture hovers somewhere in between comedy, drama, romance and crime thriller. The lack of a defined genre works, but it also dulls any edge the story may have had at some early stage.
And yet, something about The Details just works. The slow progression of Jeff's character from innocent, nerdy and harmless guy (he's played by Tobey Maguire after all) to stress-induced deviant is surprisingly smooth. The supporting characters are surprisingly colorful and defined, and the story becomes more alluring as time progresses. Laura Linney and Dennis Haysbert are especially good.
The Details isn't particularly funny, nor is it very thrilling, but it never tries to be either. The Details is what it is, and that's not a bad thing. It's a film that few will see and most who do will forget, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth seeing. Just watch out for those raccoons.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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