Roger Dodger (2002)

 

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Rating: The Good – 77
Genre: Drama
Duration: 106 mins
Director: Dylan Kidd
Stars: Campbell Scott, Jesse Eisenberg, Isabella Rossellini

“You drink that drink. Alcohol has been a social lubricant for thousands of years. What’d you think, you’re going to sit here tonight and reinvent the wheel?” Writer/director Dylan Kidd’s incisive indie drama about a cynical advertising executive who agrees to teach his young naive nephew to pick up women in the midst of his own personal crisis. The film opens with Roger dominating a conversation with his friends and colleagues by waxing lyrical about man’s encroaching obsolescence, a concern which quickly comes to symbolise his own perceived loss of utility. Roger is a self-motivated manipulator of people and while he talks a good game and is quick to point out other people’s failings he is simply recognising his own insecurities and weaknesses in those he targets. Campbell Scott gives a searing performance as the articulate, cruel, but not altogether heartless uncle. Jesse Eisenberg shows early on how good he is by simply managing to hold his own alongside Scott’s tour de force. Kidd’s script is intelligent and quietly cutting as it reveals a personality that is all too real. His hand-held camera and quick editing style gives the audience the sense that they’re peering in on the strange dynamic. However, the standout strengths of Roger Dodger are the clever script and in particular the acting which combine to make this a very unique and fascinating film.

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