Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hesher (2011)

Hesher is... an interesting film. Following TJ, a child whose mother recently died, and his unconventional friendship with the title character, Hesher reflects its main character in more ways than it intends.

I was recommended it after telling a mate how I was a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (although I still can't believe he was the dweeby teenager from 3rd Rock From the Sun) and he's the thread that manages to tie together this rather schizophrenic picture. As Hesher, he's a man of unpredictable extremes; apathetic and removed from everything in one scene, to being set off by the smallest spark the next. He's a drifter with no sense of direction but some strange compulsion to both protect and terrify his newest friend.

Hesher, both the character and the film, seems like a patchwork cobbled together from pieces that don't quite match up. Most of the characters seem confused about where they are going and why, and generally not caring about what's going on around them. I was genuinely expecting a Fight Club or Sixth Sense style twist towards the end,  if only to explain why nobody seemed to give a damn about Hesher and all the trouble he had caused. Instead, I got one of the strangest end sequences I've watched in a while: involving a casket, a trolley and an emotional walk through traffic.

There isn't necessarily much of a plot either. Much like Hesher's drifter lifestyle, things tend to just happen, rather than any particular person driving it forward. Only one character actually has a goal where anything is actually done about it, and it's just a little sub-plot. Well, it would be if there was a mainplot.

It sounds like I think Hesher isn't worth your time, and it might not be. But if you're a fan of JGL, or Natalie Portman (who was a welcome surprise about 10 minutes in, I had no idea she was involved), it might be worth your time. JGL creates a persona that's both detestable and strangely endearing and is responsible for just about all of the gags in what's supposed to be a "dark humour" drama.

Hesher was never a great success. It didn't get a UK release at all and only took in about $300K after spending a budget of $7,000,000. Don't be too afraid to take a gamble on it, but definitely keep your expectations reasonably low going in.

PS: This was what sparked to conversation about Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

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