Paul Giamatti Wins Twice

by Nicholas Robinson

Disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete (Alex Shaffer) through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy’s mother (Melanie Lynskey) shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything. – IMDB.com

 Before I start my documentary day today I decided I would review my most recent watch.  Ever since the trailer came out for this movie I have been excited to watch it, and for good reason.  This movie was good and I mean REALLY good.  The story was good, the acting was great, basically all you need from nowadays indie movies.

I really enjoy stories like the one in this movie.  I mean it’s no Lord of the Rings but it is still a good story.  The reason why I really enjoy these stories is that I believe that they could actually happen.  I mean I love watching Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and all those things but at the end of the day I know that the things in that movie could never happen and never will.  But with movies like Win Win, I can understand the characters’ plights, I understand their motivation for doing what they do and I believe that put in the situation present in the movie and given the opportunity that Mike Flaherty was given, you don’t know how people will react or choose in real life.  The cynics will say that all humans would do what was done but in truth you never know and that is what I love about stories like these.  It was written extremely well and kept me interested the entire time the film was running.

However, the main part of this film that deserves praise is Paul Giamatti’s performance.  I mean it was downright genius.  This man has been delivering great performances since the 1990’s and just continues to do it time and time again.  His delivery, his portrayal of emotion; all of it was amazing.  Surprisingly Alex Shaffer (who had never acted officially before) did a really good job.  It wasn’t very noticeable until the end of the movie when he dominated the screen (even though Paul Giamatti was on it) but it was still very good. Even though Jeffrey Tambor and Bobby Cannavale were both funny, it didn’t seem like they were doing anything.  It was as if they just took up space on screen that was only necessary for jokes, not story.

The other thing that was just average about this movie was the direction and cinematography.  The camera felt like it was placed in the standard indie movie positions and only moved when necessary.  There was absolutely nothing special about it and it could have been so much more special.  The cinematography didn’t enthrall me like a lot of movies have before and was just bland.

Overall, it was a really good movie with great performances that deserves watching.

IMDB says 7.3/10

RT says 94%

I say 8.5/10

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~ by sputnikreviews on December 26, 2011.

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