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Matt's Solitary Man Review

Updated on June 9, 2011

As a fan of Michael Douglas, I’ll watch just about anything with him in it. So when I saw this on the shelf at the library, I took a look, and the cast alone made it look like a good bet. Solitary Man, while starting off promising, didn’t finish that way. In fact, the story wasn’t finished when the credits rolled. As you read this review, consider this question: does it qualify as an actual movie if they never bothered to shoot the last reel?

Observations

- Thing is, despite the fact that Michael Douglas’s character is sort-of a douche bag in this movie, it’s Michael Douglas, so of course I still sympathize with him. His character is really down on his luck for most of the film, and watching him struggle to get it together is amusing one moment, and heartbreaking the next. So those expecting a pure comedy ought to revise their expectations. There are plenty of laughs, but it’s not ALL fun and games.

- I really wish they had actually finished the movie. The movie ends at the point where Michael Douglas’s character is meant to make a decision about whether or not to try and turn his life around, and amend his ways. We never find out if he actually decides to try. I think this film needed to be about 20 minutes longer, so we can find out if/how he turns his life around. A non-ending is just as bad as an anti-climactic ending.

Performances

With the movie like this, it’s all about the performances, and there are a lot of recognizable faces in this: Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network 2010), Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds), Richard Schiff (The West Wing), and Danny DeVito (LA Confidential), and Imogen Poots (Jane Eyre 2011).

- Michael Douglas should need no introduction or endorsement from the likes of me, his filmography speaks for itself. He doesn’t disappoint in this film, this is a character that’s right up his ally, but the non-ending of the movie means he was not given the opportunity to complete the arc of his character. It’s a shame, but the good news is, he’s done plenty of other films where his performance was just as good or better. If you’ve already seen Fatal Attraction (1987), Basic Instinct (1992), and Wall Street (1987), I recommend Wonder Boys (2000) – great movie.

- The one thing that surprised me about this film – other than the non-ending – was Danny DeVito. He was awesome in this! I’ve never seen him play a character that was so decidedly removed from what he typically plays. It’s another side to a very well-known character actor. So if you happen to like him, you should check this out.

Music, Cinematography and Special Effects

- The music in this was good, the movie starts off with some Johnny Cash – which I loved. Almost nothing going on in terms of score, but the songs they pick work well. I think the movie owes some of its energy to the music selection.

- The cinematography is passable, but nothing exceptional. Lots of cityscapes, and a really nice looking college campus.

- No special effects, it’s all just people and performance.

The Bottom Line

My rating would be a lot higher if only they had finished the film. Unfortunately because I felt the movie was unfinished, I can’t possibly recommend it. I’m gonna be generous just because I really like the cast, and they put in good performances. 6/10

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