Solitary Man

Title: Solitary Man
Year: 2010
Length: 90 minutes
Directors: Brian Koppelman & David Levien
Writer: Brian Koppelman
Starring: Michael Douglas
Music: Michael Penn (but mostly non-original music)

My reaction
Synopsis: after realizing he’s mortal, a businessman screws up his life
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Bad. It’s yet another re-write of The Wrestler, except that where that and Crazy Heart had tragically flawed lead characters with fascinating careers, this one has an unforgivable asshole car-dealer. And nobody’s singing any T-Bone Burnett songs.
Story: Bad. It would be a good story, but everything good about the story is unoriginal, and [spoiler!:] he couldn’t bother coming up with an ending. “Will he die? Will he redeem himself? Is there any way to end this movie that’s not predictable? F**k it, I can’t think of anything, I’ll just let the audience fill it in.”
Characters: Great. So, unforgivable asshole, right? I sympathized with him anyway. He’s that well-written.
Dialog: Good.
Pacing: Great.
Cinematography: Good.
Special effects/design: Good.
Acting: Great. I don’t like Michael Douglas, and I hate his character, but I enjoyed watching him. How’d he do that?
Music: Indifferent. Yeah, they play that song. The Johnny Cash version. Over the opening credits. It’s like the movie has a theme song. (“Next week on Solitary Man… dude tries to have sex with some more people.”)
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay). If you’ve seen Crazy Heart or The Wrestler, then this doesn’t have much new to offer except an excuse to give Michael Douglas an Oscar nomination. But it didn’t bore me. Good directing and editing. My wife says it’s geared for an older audience. Perhaps that would explain why so many of the secondary characters are not immediately appalled by Douglas’ character.
Objective Rating: 2.7/4 (Good).


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