Vicious Kind, The (DVD Review)21 Jan, 2010 By: John Latchem
Prebook 1/26/10; Street 2/23/10
Rated ‘R’ for some strong sexuality and pervasive language.
Stars Adam Scott, Brittany Snow, Alex Frost, J.K. Simmons.
The Vicious Kind takes the old cliché about always hurting the ones we love to a whole new level. Writer-director Lee Toland Krieger’s film is a well-acted character study about two brothers in a rural town and the girl that comes between them. If only it were that simple.
Peter (Alex Frost) brings his girlfriend, Emma (Brittany Snow), home for Thanksgiving and is given a ride by his brother, Caleb (Adam Scott).
Snow’s beauty and earnestness would be more than enough to attract an audience, but it’s Scott’s quirky and borderline deranged performance that really make The Vicious Kind worth watching.
Caleb is quite a character, the kind of guy who gets back at a girl for breaking up with him by photographing himself with a prostitute and leaving the pictures at his ex’s door. Yet his outwardly hostile and overly misogynistic attitude masks a gaping vulnerability and even a fear that he is more like his father (J.K. Simmons) than he wants to admit. His depression has manifested in a chronic insomnia, which has only furthered his moodiness.
He becomes infatuated with Emma because she resembles his ex-girlfriend, and he starts stalking her under the guise of not wanting his brother to get hurt by the relationship.
Emma, in turn, seems to find Caleb much more interesting than his straight-arrow brother, though she refuses to admit it to herself, all the while situating herself in the middle of a deep-seated dysfunction that has torn the family apart.
New secrets emerge to replace secrets that are revealed, proving that old wounds can heal only so much as the participants will allow it.