Synopsis: A law school drop-out in The Great Buck Howard takes a job as a personal assistant for an aging mentalist extraordinaire who is attempting his great comeback.
Release Date: March 20, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
The Great Buck Howard is a wonderful film about a young man searching for himself and another desperate to hold on to what he once had. It is all about people and relationships, the ones they have with others and with themselves throughout life and is full of laughs thanks to a magnificent performance by John Malkovich (Buck Howard) and an exceptionally crafted supporting cast.
There is also a very distinct dramatic edge to the story that lends itself wonderfully to your emotional connection with the characters. At once they may disgust you, enlighten you, charm you, cause you pain with their actions, or reach inside of you and pull out your heart for what has happened to them. You may even say the film uses fame as a metaphor for life; the ups, the downs, and the moments in the middle where the people who surround you love you, even when you are not a “star”.
John Malkovich’s portrayal of Buck Howard is spectacular. He radiates off of the screen and gives the character such depth and richness he casts everyone else in shadows. He brings to life a man who is at one moment egotistical, another hopeless, always full of quirks and eccentricities, and full of magnetism that dares you to take your eyes off of him for fear that you may miss something great.
In order to document the dynamics of the characters and their personas, there is a large number of close-ups or tight medium shots in The Great Buck Howard. This works wonderfully as it puts you into the story with a greater amount of depth. You are meant to be intimate with these people and the choice of framing is perfect.
Another great use of the camera in The Great Buck Howard is the angling choices used on Buck Howard. He is seen from low angles, giving him the appearance of being larger than life, important and dynamic. As the film progresses the low angles on his character are used less and less. As we learn more about Buck his persona is weakened and he becomes more human and flawed. No longer is the low angle an adequate depiction of the character and so it fades away. This was an excellent way to show the disillusionment of the character and could not have been enacted any better.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Sean McGinly
- Screenwriter: Sean McGinly
- Cast: John Malkovich (Buck Howard), Colin Hanks (Troy Gable), Emily Blunt (Valerie Brennan), Griffin Dunne (Johnathan Finerman)
- Country Of Origin: USA