Thursday, April 05, 2007
Adam Sandler gives a great performance in Reign Over Me, where he plays a man devastated by losing his wife and kids on 9-11. Don Cheadle spots Sandler on the streets of New York and recognizes him as his old roommate from dental school. Sandler's character has shut himself off from the world and stays in his apartment, obsessed with video games, movies and music. He does not work and he has no contact with friends or family. He wears headphones all the time to shut everyone out and to escape his painful past. The Cheadle/Sandler friendship is rekindled and the movie takes many twists and turns. In the end it is about the power of friendship and the importance of facing life head-on, no matter how difficult it may be. Sandler's isolation is reminiscent of DeNiro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Cheadle is married with a family in the film, and he covets the freedom that Sandler has, but yet he sees his pain and loneliness as well. This film is a refreshing change of pace for Sandler who is a decent actor, but he has done too many childish, un-creative films like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, Mr. Deeds or Little Nicky. Reign Over Me along with Punch Drunk Love show that he can do more than play a sophomoric goofball. A serious role like this that challenged him will be good for his career, and it should open up doors for future roles. Reign Over Me also features Jada Pinkett Smith, Robert Klein and Liv Tyler. The title comes from a song by The Who, and I wish they had used the original in the film instead of the Pearl Jam cover version.