STRENGTH DEFINES US.
One of the director’s most successful (although not commercially) dramas is a reality-based story of a man who was seriously injured during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, losing both legs. We get close to a person who faces a huge challenge; it’s a struggle with himself, with the woman who is sort of his girlfriend but has doubts, and the people of a city who have a need to turn him into a flag-waving patriot and hero. An emotional journey boosted by an incredibly strong performance by Jake Gyllenhaal as a man the audience may also be struggling to like. His boisterous family almost (but not quite) turns into a parody.
2017-U.S. 119 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Michel Litvak, Scott Silver. Directed by David Gordon Green. Screenplay: John Pollono. Book: Jeff Bauman, Bret Witter. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (Jeff Bauman), Tatiana Maslany (Erin Hurley), Miranda Richardson (Patty Bauman), Richard Lane, Jr., Clancy Brown, Frankie Shaw.
Trivia: Several doctors, nurses, family members and rehab techs who were involved in the real-life story play themselves.
Last word: “The casting was really helpful. I tried to cast people who had a sense of humour, so when we wanted to lighten up and make it more playful we could. There’s plenty of improvisation. If you know these characters, these people we’re portraying, they use humour as a defense. When times are tough they’ve got balls and when they’re struggling with something humour takes the pressure off. Sometimes at the end of an intense take, we’d try something more playful and absurd. In editing we spoke of what that balance would be, how to make it appropriate.” (Green, The Hollywood News)