Is Anybody There? DVD Review
Is Anybody There?
Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey
Released by Roadshow Entertainment
1980s England - and in the stifling atmosphere of an old people's home, we
find death and dementia not too far away.
10-year-old Edward (Bill Milner) lives in a care home run by his
parents - but to get by on a daily basis, Edward has a morbid fascination with
death - obsessed by the final moments of some of the residents, Edward spends
his time recording their last dying breaths in an attempt to find out what comes
One day, while out walking and listening to
the exit of an elderly resident on a pair of headphones, he's nearly run over by
Michael Caine's ancient magician Clarence. The two form an unlikely bond as
Edward realizes after Clarence tries to commit suicide, that he holds the secret
to what comes next&
Is Anybody There? is a
tear-jerker in parts - but thanks to a stellar performance from Michael Caine it
avoids heading down the three hankies track. Once again, Caine manages to turn
what could have been a fairly mawkish script into some truly emotive moments -
there's pathos in spades here as Clarence first visits the home; he's shocked to
realize that he will ultimately end up here but too weary to fight against the
inevitability of his condition.
Edward isn't a bad performance - while his morbid fascination and depressing
endless questioning is a product of where he's been brought up, the sense of
playfulness and earnest desire to learn about the afterlife and find some
meaning in the world make the character rise above what could have been a
tearful, doleful mire.
The only unwelcome note in
Is Anybody There? is the family marriage melodrama which blights the final
portion of the film - it's an unnecessary footnote to what's gone before.
Extras: None (disappointingly)