Review 226: Igby Goes Down (2002)
I’m a big fan of Kieran Culkin mainly due to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I’d heard that Igby Goes Down was a great showcase of his talent. I noticed it was available on-demand and decided to give it a watch. I really enjoyed the film earning it the Decent Watch rating.
Igby (Kieran Culkin) has had a peculiar upbringing that has resulted in him struggling to get by. His father (Bill Pullman) is mentally ill, his mother is tyrannical (Susan Sarandon), his brother Oliver is a fascist (Ryan Phillippe), and no one seems to understand Igby.
This film starts off with an opening sequence of Oliver and Igby killing their mother. It’s a dark comedy and the film, written and directed by Burr Steers, makes sure it’s audience knows what they’re in for. I find dark comedies to be great reflections of the crazy aspects of the world we live in. Not to spoil anything, but the opening sequence is actually a later part of the film. It leaves us wondering how did Igby and Oliver get to that point. The journey that follows isn’t necessarily what you’ll expect, but it’s an interesting one to experience.
The highlight of the film is definitely Kieran Culkin. His ability to deliver cynical, dry, sarcastic dialogue is fantastic. He is an actor I would love to see cast more often as I love his performances when I get to see them. His interactions with Bill Pullman, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes, Jeff Goldblum, Ryan Phillippe, Jared Harris, and Amanda Peet really show his talent. Culkin holds his own in every moment even working with the names that are associated with high quality acting. He can take the most serious of moments and turn it to a darkly comedic one.
Wrapping up Igby Goes Down
While the film is definitely not for everyone, if you can take dark comedies it’s worth a watch. At first, I wasn’t sure if this is a film I would re-watch. However, after reflecting on the film I’d like to watch it a few more times. There is a lot of content that I’d like to watch again plus seeing Kieran Culkin act is always a joy.