Peacock is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Michael Lander. Written by Lander and Ryan Roy, the film stars Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, and Susan Sarandon.
The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics and audience-members, although it can be difficult to find an accurate gauge on what the reception to this film actually was.
The talented cast was enough to make me buy this film the moment that I saw it. Ellen Page is one of my favorite female actresses, while from what I’ve seen, Cillian Murphy appears to have a major upside. I didn’t know anything about what the story was about, but had I known, I would have bought it even sooner off impulse.
The film stars Cillian Murphy playing the role of John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in Peacock, Nebraska. He prefers to live an invisible life disclosed from most social-interaction.
He’s not alone though. He has multiple personality disorder.
This includes him oftentimes playing his alter ego of a woman named Emma that each morning does his chores and cooks him breakfast at the start of the day. This is all well and good, but when a freight train caboose derails and crashes into John’s backyard, the neighbors are given wind of Emma, and it becomes increasingly difficult for him to keep his secret.
The film definitely has an interesting premise, and I am ecstatic to say that the performance offered in by Cillian Murphy compliments it nicely.
In his role, he claims complete and total ownership of the spotlight and everybody else is simply involved. It’s actually a little mesmerizing to watch. If, for no other reason, it’s chilling to see how out of his element he seems when being himself and how comfortable he is when he plays Emma.
His character has an ominous presence that keeps the film worthwhile and intact.
The rest of the characters can’t make the same claims or statements. Nobody is bad in the film, but other-wise, none of the characters actually make me feel anything the same way as the lead-protagonist. There simply isn’t a lot of depth to the characters. Also, while I am certainly entertained by the concept and the audacity of the situation, as well as the lead performance, the story can often be riddled with cliche and blandness of characters.
I don’t care about everything else established over the fact that he has multiple personality disorder. However, the film also beckons me to care about other things, and I don’t. The story is neither here nor there in-general, but it offers a platform for the character to exist. Whether or not any of the portrayal actually carries any realism never really crossed my mind. I suppose it’s a little far-fetched, but it’s in the same breath as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Psycho and Peacock have an obvious connection. John Skillpa had a very, very close relationship with his mother, and when she died, he fell a tidbit off his rocker. I think it’s fair to say that if you liked Psycho there’s reason to check out this film. Like Perkins did with Norman Bates, Murphy offers a character that is unsettling not through violence or gore, but by being unorthodox and enigmatic.
In conclusion, Peacock isn’t a drop-dead amazing film. It doesn’t have millions upon millions of depth stacked upon itself, but it does offer something. There’s ambition to the story, and an extremely well-delivered performance in the lead. For Cillian Murphy alone, I’d recommend it. While everything else often sinks flat more than it doesn’t, there is enough to keep it afloat and keep it worthwhile. For a film, it’s slightly above average, for a direct-to-DVD release, it’s superb.
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