Igby Goes Down


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IGBY GOES DOWN trods the malaise minefield laid down by the likes of “The Catcher In The Rye”, looking at a malfunctioning world through the eyes of a malfunctioning teenager. ‘Trod’ doesn’t quite suffice; ‘tramples’ or ‘kicks the shit out of’ is more like it for this acid-burning 2002 comedy-drama, written & directed by Burr Steers.

Steers knows his swamp, counting relatives from both sides of the political chasm, including Gore Vidal (who has a bit part here), Jackie Kennedy, a founder of Standard Oil—even reaching back into the mists of WASPdom to that pistol-wielding grudge-bearer, Aaron Burr.  920x920 (1)

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Igby’s parents are as hatefully screwed up as money can make you, his brother is a vicious young Republican (the word vicious optional), his selection of partners has little to do with sanity. Excellent acting all round, with enough razor-wire irony spouted by everyone to fuel a Modern Art Gallery in Hell.Ryan-Phillippe-Igby-Goes-Down.5

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Trouble is, the tone is so unrelentingly bleak, and everyone is so rotten that you need not wait until minute 98 fades out to arrive at “who gives a damn”?  Igby & Co. are so caustic it’s toxic.  Every comment is lacquered in disaffected sarcasm posing as insight, an egoistic Dien Bien Phu hurtfest of cigarette-wielding, novelist-quote-spewing, narcissistic toads.  As such, the $9,000,000 bile-bath didn’t draw crowds, making back only $4,681,000.

Good soundtrack tune selection.  Exemplary cast pitch-perfect slay every biting morsel: Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Claire Danes, Ryan Philippe, Amanda Peet, Bill Pullman, Jered Harris, Rory Culkin, Cynthia Nixon, Eric Bogosian.

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