The Details Blu-ray Review
Some films just sneak up on you. You don’t expect much, but then you are pleasantly surprised by the results. THE DETAILS is one such case. I had not heard of this picture before watching it. The cast though was impressive, so it definitely piqued my curiosity. If you are looking for a television show equivalent to this movie, it would be Pushing Daisies. They share the same delightfully quirky DNA that bursts with energy on the screen with bright color, bouncy music and just enough originality to keep you guessing.
Tobey Maguire is the lead in our tale. He plays Dr. Jeff Lang, a man who seemingly has it all. He has a beautiful wife in Nealy (Elizabath Banks), a cute kid and a secure job. But the narration in the beginning tells of possible trouble in the future.
Jeff’s life gets more complicated when he experiences a raccoon problem in his lawn. The raccoon rips up the lawn and always seems to avoid Jeff’s many traps and maneuvers. This part of the story amused me to no end. The raccoon has a personality of his own and tortures Jeff incessantly. Jeff starts imagining the raccoon in other parts of his life and it invades his dreams. This is totally relatable to anyone that has an issue, no matter what it is, that you can’t quite solve and it doesn’t seem to go away. It consumes you to do irrational things to get rid of the problem.
This is not the only thing that is bugging Jeff these days. His sex life with Nealy has been dormant for quite a while. When he tries to initiate it one night, Nealy gives the old ate too much excuse. That’s never a good sign. There’s a great scene where Jeff confides in his old friend Rebecca (Kerry Washington) about his marital difficulties. Director/Screenwriter Jacob Aaron Estes fast forwards a day which led to the last time Jeff and Nealy had sex. It’s interesting and zany at the same time. It actually felt similar in a way to a scene in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE where Kubrick sped up a sex scene to comical effect. Estes does this throughout THE DETAILS. There are visual flourishes here and there, but he doesn’t go overboard. The musical score is top notch and puts you in the right mindset.
Jeff also has to deal with a peculiar neighbor named Lila (a delightful and unhinged Laura Linney). She’s one of those neighbors who complain all the time about something. It could be that you are being noisy, violating some city code or some other trivial thing. Supporting characters played by Ray Liotta and Dennis Haysbert also make their mark. Liotta, who plays Rebecca’s husband Peter, delivers one of the better speeches I’ve seen in a film. It deals with being a good person. It actually makes you think about your own life and how you would confront certain situations. Haysbert tugs as the heart strings as Jeff’s basketball buddy who is battling kidney problems. His storyline doesn’t work as well as the other ones, but it does give the film some needed humanity. That comes by the way of what these two men do for each other.
Jeff’s life gets all out of whack because of the raccoon and romantic entanglements that come his way. Each character plays their part to the hilt. It’s great seeing Maguire show more emotion than we are accustomed. All of his past characters tended to be on the mild mannered side. Here he shows the full spectrum of emotions from rage to bewilderment. Banks gives another strong performance that can be added to her stellar resume. She really has a unique ability to go from a lighthearted scene to a more dramatic scene on the dime. It’s effortless.
I was thoroughly entertained by THE DETAILS. It does peter out some at the end. The loose ends are tied up a bit too neatly. It doesn’t negate what fun that you will experience as Jeff’s life unravels in every imaginable way.
Video: The colors come alive in this transfer. I especially liked the rich colors of the flowers and plants on screen.
Sound: There’s a nice clarity and diction to the sound.
Alternate Beginning (2:06): More ominous than the theatrical choice. It explains a bit more which in this case is not a plus.
Alternate Ending (4:51): Different result for Jeff. Very silly. Estes made the right move.