Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Man in the Silo [2012]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13/R)   Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
IndieWire review

The Man in the Silo [2012] (directed and cowritten by Phil Donlon along with Christopher E. Ellis) is a Hitchcockian thriller that played recently at Chicago's 19th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

The film's about a middle-aged African American executive named Marcus Wells (played with stunning intensity by Ernie Hudson) who appears to have come to a breaking point:

He had a high stress but in all likelihood well compensated job and he had married a beautiful (white) "Midwest farmer's daughter" named Emily (played by Sandra Robinson) with whom he had mixed race boy named Carl (played by Brandon Ratcliff).  Following the death of her father in an accident "in the silo," Emily had asked Marcus if they could move back to her parents' farm so that she could take care of her elderly mother (played by Jane Alderman).  No problem, granted it extended his commute to 3 hours each way from her parents' farm into the city each day, but for the sake of his wife okay.

But when they moved in, it became apparent that Emily's parents had never really accepted their daughter's decision to marry a black man (no matter how successful he was...): Though the house was filled with family pictures including pictures of Emily as a beautiful young woman prior to her marrying Marcus, there were NO PICTURES AT ALL, ANYWHERE, of Emily with Marcus or their son Carl.  And the elderly and arguably already "half senile" Sara (also grieving the loss of her husband) took-on a habit of trying to brush the curls out of Carl's hair WITH A BIG BRUSH that Marcus soon took to calling a "dog brush."  

The "coup de grace" came when Emily and Carl were killed (even before the movie started, all the above is revealed to us in flashbacks) in a car accident.

So the film began with Marcus commuting three hours each way each day between his high-stress job and his wife's parents' home, somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin, taking care of his mother-in-law (who hated him) still on behalf of his recently deceased wife who hadn't wanted to put her mother "in a home."

How would you feel?  And could YOU take that kind of pressure?  Great film!

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