An inspirational drama about a dedicated teacher helping their students and becoming a better person in the process, is a tried-and-true Hollywood product (see: Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, etc.). There's also the rare entry in that sub-genre that thankfully doesn't wrap things up in quite so tidy a bow by the end, a la Half Nelson.
Detachment, an upcoming film written by newcomer Carl Lund and directed by Tony Kaye (American History X) looks to be one of those rare gems that takes a more uncompromising look at the hardships of the teaching profession - and just how difficult it is for an instructor to reach their troubled students (and vice versa).
Oscar-winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist, King Kong) headlines Detachment as Henry Barthes, an emotionally closed-off substitute teacher who is well fit for his particular career, having no interest in forming any sort of stronger bond with either his students or anyone else around him. The film is told from Henry's perspective, after he begins a three week stint at a lackluster high school where neither the students nor the weary faculty have any particular interest in creating a positive or effective learning environment.
The rest of the Detachment cast is pretty much a who's who of accomplished/decorated actors and actresses alike, including Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), James Caan (Misery), Blythe Danner (Will & Grace), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Lucy Liu (Kill Bill: Vol. 1) and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire). That's a promising collection of acting talent, to say the least.
Check out the official domestic trailer and poster for Detachment below:
Kaye's films in general tend to be pretty effectively raw and unvarnished dramas that deal with troubling subject matter (American History X, being the best-known example). Detachment looks and reads like it could be yet another excellent production from the director - one that boasts some excellent acting and more naturalistic plot points, while also not relying on the tedious clichés of the teacher/student subgenre and simply hitting the standard heartstring-tugging beats in too predictable a fashion. That'd make for a nice change of pace, should it prove to be the case.
Detachment is scheduled to begin a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on March 16th, 2012.
Source: iTunes Movie Trailers