Doubt (2008)

[rate 4]

I recently got a Netflix account on a free trial from a friend. It has instant streaming.

It’s awesome.

The instant streaming feature alone is worth the price of admission (which, for the time being, is zilch for me). The first movie I watched on Instant Streaming was the 2008 film Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.

I’d seen it in theatres, but seeing it again reiterated the initial impressions I had of the movie. As a friend said, it’s a “battle of the actors” – throw the finest film actors of our day on screen and see who comes out on top. In this case, everyone wins, but I wonder at what cost. The ambiguity that made the stage play so powerful is lost in the film, perhaps in part to the crispness of the performances, or Shanley’s very composed, angular visual style. The actors are at the top of their game, but to a degree they go too far, and while it’s still a compelling story, it loses the mystery that made it so much more on stage.

I still grant it four stars – these actors are at their technical peak, and watching their layered characterizations (in spite of how clean or meticulous they may seem) proves that.

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Chris Van Patten

I'm an entrepreneur, designer, theatre producer, and tea aficionado. I love helping artists achieve their digital potential through custom websites, apps, and more. I own and operate Van Patten Media, a boutique web agency in New York.