Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Win Win: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

Paul Giamatti once again dons his slightly sadsack look for this indie quirky piece about a lawyer Mike Flaherty whose small business is facing a bit of a financial struggle.
Flaherty also moonlights as the coach of a small high school wrestling team - and they're struggling as well.

So, when he sees a cash lifeline from an elderly client, he decides to cash in and becomes the oldster's guardian.

However, that backfires when the grandson Kyle Timmons (Alex Shaffer) shows up and Flaherty's family takes him in. And when Mike realises Kyle can wrestle, suddenly it's all looking up.

But the fragile world is shaken up when Kyle's mum (our very own Melanie Lynskey) shows up, straight out of rehab...

Win Win is the definition of indie. It's from the director of The Visitor and The Station Agent and is once again another powerhouse performance from Paul Giamatti who seems to excel (and is in danger of being typecast) in these world weary character roles.

It's also wryly funny and heartfelt with great performances from Lynskey, who manages to turn a relatively loathsome character into something a little more nuanced and plausible - and Shaffer in particular who manages to get the teenage awkwardness down to an art form. He is a real discovery of a first time actor.

It's the ensemble which works well - Giamatti and Ryan impress with their humorously laconic relationship; Tambor and Cannavale are funny as the assistant coaches and as the house of cards crumbles that Flaherty's created,  McCarthy does a good job of handling the situation rather than reducing it to mush.

There's a little case of the film sagging somewhat after an hour or so -but when they throw in a frankly hilarious wrestling scene, you're prepared to forgive it.

All in all, Win Win is a breath of fresh air and a quality indie with an impressive cast.

Extras: Deleted scenes, music video by The National, Directors' insights.


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