“The Mend” is a tale of two brothers, miserable men. The picture oscillates lugubriously between angst and misery, emanating bad vibes all the while. Rating: 1½ stars out of 4.
Angst, angst, angst, angst.
Misery, misery, misery, misery.
“The Mend” oscillates lugubriously between those two emotions, emanating bad vibes all the while.
Movie Review ★½
‘The Mend,’ with Josh Lucas, Stephen Plunkett, Lucy Owen and Mickey Sumner. Written and directed by John Magary . 111 minutes. unrated, language adult situations. Northwest Film Forum through Thursday.
It’s a tale of two brothers, miserable men. Mat (Josh Lucas) is self-absorbed. Alan (Stephen Plunkett) is self-pitying.
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It’s a tale of three relationships: between Mat and Alan, who are usually at daggers’ points whenever they’re together; between Mat and his girlfriend Andrea (Lucy Owen), a young single mother who has angrily kicked him out of her apartment as the picture begins; and between Alan and his girlfriend Farrah (Mickey Sumner), who dumps him just before they’re scheduled to jet off to Quebec where he’d plan to propose marriage to her.
The debut feature from writer-director John Magary, “The Mend” meanders from situation to situation, turning itself in the process into a wallow of dysfunction. And a claustrophobic wallow at that.
It’s barely begun, with Mat, banished by an enraged Andrea onto New York’s streets, crawls drunk on hands and knees on a grimy subway platform. And then the picture groans to a dead stop with a 20-minute party sequence in Alan’s small, drab apartment in which the conversation is desultory and the hostility of the brothers and other guests pulses just beneath the surface. The scene feels like a bad dream, or a prison.
“The Mend” barely revives after that drawn-out interlude as the brothers seek to arrive at some sort of personal accommodation and also try to repair their sundered relationships with their girlfriends. It’s a dreary process, made drearier by the fact that a good share of it takes place either on night city streets or in Alan’s apartment where the power has failed.
In the role of Mat, one-time Gig Harbor resident Lucas gives a powerful performance playing a total heel. His work is the best thing in a lost cause.