I should just start all my podcasts with confessions…but Ethan Hawke is an acting God to me, from his luminous start in Dead Poet’s Society to his poignant Before Sunset Linklater trilogy to what should have been a no brainer Oscar in First Reformed, Ethan Hawke is THE man. And I was fortunate enough to see him live with Paul Dano no less on Broadway in True West, heavenly.
In his further homage, just watch his subtle nuances in Raymond and Ray, the chewing of the toothpick, his pacing, pure magic.
I won’t watch him as a predator in a horror flick though, as I do have some standards, but Raymond and Ray on Apple TV was simply a dark comedy.
Hawke plays half brother to another acting triumph Ewan McGregor (here’s where I say, ‘men, facial hair is a bonus’ and while I understand Ewan character was supposed to be an OCD nerd, a 5 o’clock shadow would have shown character growth in the last act, a tiny quibble admittedly). The basic plot is the two half brothers attempt to reconcile memories and dysfunction after their father passes (not a spoiler).
Rodrigo Garcia is the very talented writer who also directed Raymond and Ray. From his IMDB page it appears that this is his second full length endeavor. I loved In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne also to Rodrigo’s credit. This film not only had carefully and uniquely drawn characters, even down to the child actor (Maxim Swinton, distant cousin to Tilda) who performed the awkward tone deaf actions real kids do in stressful times.
Again, a tiny detractor, or shall I say too much frosting, were the fraternal twin half brothers who also are acrobats (?). My script doctor would have prescribed having them be simply random traveling guys who happen upon the cemetery to practice their stunts, but then again, I realize this would have taken from the father’s back story.
The music provided by Jeff Beal was atmospheric and glorious. The ending song by Nathaniel Rateliff was also stunning in a Van Morrison-esque way.
The film does a magnificent job showing how siblings react differently to abusive homes and sometimes are at odds in avoidance of reverberations of the past.