DIRECTED BY JAY & MARK DUPLASS
STARRING: JOHN C. REILLY, JONAH HILL, MARISA TOMEI, MATT WALSH and CATHERINE KEENER
Depressed man having to deal with ex-Wife getting married – shows it on surface, is frantic to say the least. A couple of drinks open the door to him as one who retracts to shell citing himself to be a waste of potential, lacking opportunity to prove his worth. He’s conveniently eavesdropped and loved at first auditory intercourse; a sex-life begins, that which essentially has to be a blossoming relationship, considering the neighbourhood and the social status of the people in it – a subtle reminder that we’re watching an independent, suburban film as opposed to a big city venture. The woman has a secret: a Son, a disapproving 22-year old who takes up villainy as a result of victimization (or so he feels). And so, the Man’s got to fight a battle that’s totally not what he signed up for.
For one thing, I’m really glad that the writer-directors kept it a little low on the incestuous references, if not entirely in the clear. One could ascribe whatever remainder of emotions felt to a lack of clarity in expression, perhaps deliberated in order to demean the curious viewer and deem his suspicions disgusting. But then again, maybe it was the act of casting John C. Reilly in the central role – succinct as he comes out with his characterization, a fair intellect but not without his share of recklessness. And with Jonah Hill as the titular ‘Cyrus’ in what he could have taken to be a career-defining role/performance, I honestly found it hard to take the film too seriously in the beginning, where the little hints at humour proved to disturb the film’s emotional purity. Couldn’t place the film as either a comedy or a drama in the minutes where the plot kicked off, couldn’t place it still in its dry-but-subtle ending that served to up a spike on my appreciation graph.
I guess that’s how it proves its mettle on being classified as an ‘independent film’.
The lead comics find a sort of home away from home in their underplayed performances, although I wished they could talk a little louder for the sake of coherence – I welcomed the harsher exchange of words better than the close-to-heart mumbles, simply because I could hear them right! And Marisa Tomei, in her underdone costume of Mollie, Cyrus’ mother, drops anchor and helps keep her two buffoons closer to ground and hence closer to each other as well, a very relevant metaphor of off-screen on on-screen, while Catherine Keener intervenes like the occasional breach of Fourth Wall.
I have to laud the film’s music score, for primarily helping to keep focus on plot and progression: Michael Andrews (who, I learn, was also the reason behind the emotions of the 2009 Judd Apatow film ‘Funny People’) keeps the intensity secure with a non-lyrical soundtrack, one of the best accomplishments of ‘Cyrus’ as a film, or so I feel. But then having reached the end, I was ultimately not able to decide on what I thought it fell short on – was it the levels of emotion, or was it comic frequency? I would settle for lack of clarity as opposed to content, for ‘Cyrus’ is a pretty holistic film that gives you a fair share of moments to smile about, even if not lingering enough to look back on, something that made me wish it was a little more drastic, for better or for worse.