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Downloading Nancy (DVD Review)

6 Dec, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prebook 12/8/09; Street 1/12/10
Box Office $0.02 million
$27.99 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell, Amy Brenneman.

What do you do when life isn’t worth living and committing suicide seems so selfish an act? Go online and find someone to finish you off.

That’s what Nancy (Maria Bello, stripped down to the emotional bone) seeks in Louis Farley (Jason Patric) — an online connection. He apparently is on board to help the hapless housewife, married to indifferent computer software salesman Albert (Rufus Sewell from TV’s “Eleventh Hour”), accomplish the task (after repeated sexual encounters, of course).

In the wrenchingly depressing Downloading Nancy, the eponymous protagonist has also taken to masturbating to online images and cutting herself repeatedly whenever bouts of depression hit (like at the hardware store) and then waving off outsiders, including therapist Carol (Amy Brenneman), when they attempt to intercede.

Though she’s no doubt depressed, it is never made clear why Nancy has been driven to the emotional abyss. Boring monogamous sex and muddling office parties wouldn’t appear to be catalysts for self-destruction. Divorce and self-fulfillment apparently aren’t options either. 

Simply put, Nancy is a pain addict so hopelessly driven to self-extinction there can be no salvation. It’s a grim reality that not even Louis can stop, nor can bewildered hubby Albert come to grips with or much less explain it.

If nothing else, Swedish director Johan Renck creates the perfect canvas of despair, which might be discomforting to some viewers and considered art by others.

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