What happens when two self destructing brothers come face to face in a small NYC apartment? Chaos and truth are forced into the light in John Magary‘s first full length feature, THE MEND. Josh Lucas and Stephen Plunkett play mind games with one another and themselves in this existential mid-life crisis. Alan and girlfriend Farrah are on their way out of town but not before throwing an intimate get together as a send off for their travels. Freeloading brother (and oftentimes asshole of a human) Mat shows up after his girlfriend Andrea kicks him out. The two are clearly estranged for reasons that come to light in subtle and brilliant ways as the story progresses. Alan and Farrah leave the next morning and Mat takes it upon himself to squat in the apartment, eventually inviting Andrea and her son Ronnie to join them. The small space leads to confessions on all parts when Alan returns sans Farrah. Three adults and one child in a one bedroom in the city is a sure fire recipe for some serious self analysis and confrontation. Booze, drugs, rage, pity, blame all come into play as these people face the cynicism of adulthood and circumstance. Lucas nails this role. His brash, disgusting habits and frankly haggard outwardly appearance make this role extra juicy. He is both unapologetic and somehow down to earth all at once. Plunkett tries to play cool and steady but he is not so secretly a mess. The blatant similarities between the two brothers becomes a beautiful revelation. Lucy Owen as Andrea is an emotional volcano and I loved everything about her vulnerability. Ronnie is played by the spectacular Cory Nichols. Another refreshing performance following up from Tribeca’s KING JACK. What a natural. Magary‘s script and ability to make the familiar seem new is so intriguing. Small seemingly mundane scenes are anything but. The Mend has this throwback feeling to it. Something about the mix of music and watered down hipster mentality makes it quite the work of art. You can catch The Mend today in NYC and next Friday in L.A., with a national release throughout the fall.
For anyone who’s ever loathed and loved a sibling in equal measure, The Mend is the wonderfully strange and acidic debut comedy from writer / director John Magary. Shot through with the wicked humor and anarchy of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I and Mike Leigh’s Naked , The Mend follows a mismatched yin-yang pair of NYC brothers, loose cannon Mat (Josh Lucas in a career-best performance) and put-upon Alan (Stephen Plunkett) as they stagger dimly towards some understanding of love, women, masculinity and what it truly means to be a brother.
Featuring a gorgeous, minimalist score by Michi Wiancko & Judd Greenstein and beautiful, fluid cinematography by Chris Teague (Obvious Child), the film unfolds as three stylistically distinct but interwoven acts, each with its own mesmerizing rhythm. With superb supporting performances by Mickey Sumner (Frances Ha) and Lucy Owen as the brothers’ sharp-tongued girlfriends.