|$||70.1M||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|$||35.7M||Iron Man 3|
|$||23.9M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||3.2M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 22, 2013|
I stumbled on it quite randomly thanks to a helpful web feature that predicts and subsequently recommends films you may appreciate based on your prior ratings of similar movies. The film I am referring to in this particular case is the 2005 Miramax release Neverwas.
Neverwas is the tale of a successful psychiatrist named Zach Riley(Aaron Eckhart) who leaves his high profile job to take a minuscule position treating patients at the Mill Wood psychiatric hospital. Interestingly enough, it was the very same hospital that provided care to his father (Nick Nolte) years earlier. Shortly after leaving Mill Wood, Zach’s father, a noted best selling children’s author, committed suicide. While working at Mill Wood, Zach is put in charge of one of the institutions most challenging, emotionally disturbed guests, a man named Gabriel (Ian McKellen). From their very first meeting it becomes instantly apparent that Gabriel seems to know a great deal about Zach, his past, and even his father. Blatant dismissal turns to curious inquiry as Zach does his best to uncover the forgotten truths of his youth; along with a long lost friend from his childhood (Brittany Murphy) he dives into a journey of self discovery that ultimately opens his eyes and helps him conquer the demons of a past life he had all but forgotten.
This film is absolutely one of those "lost gems" of the industry that sometimes pop up here and there. Even with such big name actors in the cast, this film was barely promoted and hardly noticed. So many brilliant performances flood this film that it is quite nearly bursting at the seams. Nick Nolte is as haunting as ever and turns out a truly amazing performance. Ian McKellen plays Gabriel to an absolute T, and as he narrates the opening scenes one cannot help but be mesmerized by his unmistakable voice. I do declare that man could record himself reciting the telephone book and I would buy the CD. The Phillip Glass soundtrack moves the film along quite nicely and in my opinion really contributes quite beautifully to the whimsical feel of the film.
Aside from Ian McKellen (no surprise there!) I believe Aaron Eckhart delivers the best performance in this movie. I am relatively unfamiliar with Eckhart’s past roles. Having previously only known him from his albeit brilliant performance in Thank You For Smoking, how he would fit in this film was a bit perplexing to me. His opening scenes had me a bit leery of just how well he would do, but once I let myself melt into the heart of what this film was and where it was coming from, Eckhart’s character came alive. He delivers a raw, gritty, real portrayal of a man fending off closeted skeletons from his past all while desperately attempting to keep some form of composure. Meanwhile, he strains to keep a grasp on his personal sanity. This sort of torment is exactly what Aaron Eckhart delivers and if you allow yourself to be taken into the soul of this film then you will be treated to a performance that is guaranteed to please.
The cast of Neverwas shines quite brightly. The movie itself is a cinematic treasure. You are missing out if you choose not to view it. It may be a hard movie to find, but it is absolutely worth it. This ranks quite highly on my list of favorite films and I would gladly watch it over and over again.
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