Drunkboat has been a long time coming. But at long last this poignant and moving film has finally seen the light of day. And while there are those who have obviously already had their say with this indie flick, one can’t help but wonder if those critics were watching the same movie. Drunkboat is one of the year’s top indie flicks. It has proven with its story and the acting of stars John Goodman and John Malkovich that indie flicks can be and are just as enjoyable and noteworthy as any film released by the major studios.The story behind this movie centers on Mort Gleason (John Malkovich). Mort is a recovering alcoholic who is trying to get his life back on track. The thing of it is that he still faces adversity as neither his (seeming) sister believes in him at first. Nor does her son, Abe (Jacob Zachar). Abe is a typical teenage boy. He thinks he knows everything. And thanks to Abe’s plot to buy a boat from the unscrupulous Mr. Fletcher (John Goodman), Abe almost loses his way as he attempts to recover from his past. This is where things get just a tiny bit dicey. One can’t help but scratch one’s head in bewilderment at Abe’s plan. Abe could have done any number of plans. But buying a boat just seems odd. But perhaps that could have been part of his character. Abe was just a teenager. So he was just doing something dumb and thoughtless like any other teenager. It doesn’t have to make sense, as little of what the teenage mind does makes much sense. So keeping this in mind, those critics who have panned the movie for this quirkiness would be well served to go back and watch it again. Perhaps understanding this would give said critics a different view of things.
The movie’s central plot is really underrated. It obviously hasn’t gotten the credit which it deserves. Malkovich’s portrayal of mort is expert to say the least. It’s his acting that anchors (no pun intended) this story. The irony is that while it’s his acting that anchors the movie, John Goodman is billed as one of the movie’s stars. The reality is that as amazing an actor as Goodman is, he’s more or less just a supporting actor to Malkovich. In his own right though, Goodman’s acting is equally impressive. It gives Malkovich something off of which he can bounce his lines and character. The pair is seen together in one scene near the story’s end. But that one scene is powerful in itself. Thanks to Mr. Fletcher tempting Mort with alcohol and Abe verbally abusing him, audiences see Mort at his weakest and most innocent moment. It makes him a fully sympathetic character for audiences. And it makes Mr. Fletcher that much more despicable of a human being. This scene is not one of those over the top moments either. It’s just enough to keep audiences watching to see what will happen. And it will make the movie’s final moments all the more moving.
Drunkboat clocks in at just under two hours. In that time, Mort’s attempt to get his life back on track will keep audiences watching without even once checking the time. Malkovich’s portrayal of Mort will make any viewer want to cheer for him as he shows that he is really making an attempt to get his life right. The relationship that he builds with Abe makes the story even more powerful. While other critics have obviously had their say on this work, those who go into this movie with an open mind will hopefully see it for the moving story that it is and that it truly is just as good as any film made by any major studio. It’s proof that even in the twenty-first century, indie flicks are just as valid as anything else that’s out there.
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