Keane, 2004

The film opens with a disorienting, vérité-like shot of desperate urgency as William Keane (Damian Lewis) walks up to a ticketing booth and insists on speaking with a specific agent before shoving a frayed, newspaper clipping into the narrow glass opening as the agent steps forward and asking him if remembers the girl in the picture after selling two tickets to him several months earlier on a fateful day in September when, en route to returning his seven-year-old daughter to his ex-wife after an appointed custodial visit, he momentary lost track of her in the crowd and she was abducted near the maze of commuter terminal gates. Obsessively returning to the terminal each afternoon in order to look for clues, it is soon evident that Keane has been slowly losing grasp of reality as he recklessly walks onto a busy street to call out to his daughter, channels her thoughts while performing surveillance in order to guide him to the perpetrator, shopping for clothes that would be suitable for her at a department store, and even taking a disability retirement in order to devote all of his time to her search and safe return. It is a tenuous existence that is soon perturbated from its predictable (albeit irrational) routine when he comes to the aid of a financially strapped woman named Lynn (Amy Ryan) and her young daughter Kira (Abigail Breslin). Recalling the raw emotionality and unembellished immediacy of Pierre and Jean-Luc Dardenne, particularly in the surrogate parent-child relationship and integral mystery of The Son, Keane is a haunting and provocative effort from Lodge Kerrigan. Like Kerrigan’s fearlessly uncompromising early feature film, Clean, Shaven, the film provides a harrowing and deeply disturbing, but also humane and thoughtful glimpse of psychological instability, despair, alienation, and compassion.

© Acquarello 2004. All rights reserved.

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