Review: ‘Superheroes’

Lisa Jacobson

"Superheroes" is a wrenching two-hander about the scars of war.

“Superheroes” is a wrenching two-hander about the visible and less visible scars an Iraq vet attempts to live with, after his normal life is transformed into a portable battlefield of pain and regret. Dash Mihok’s top-notch perf as an erstwhile productive member of society and ex-family man reduced to just getting through the day, lends compassionately told tale its engaging moral center. Somber, affecting indie is a conversation-starter for folks who assume getting home in one piece is all that matters. War may be hell, but the personal aftermath can be purgatory.

Ben Patchett (Mihok) forms a wary, tentative friendship with earnest young video-maker Nick Jones (Spencer Treat Clark) at the VA outpatient group Nick tapes for internal use. Sensitive and courteous where Ben is medication-deadened and gruff, Nick agrees to accompany Ben on a change-of-routine vacation from Flushing, N.Y., to an isolated country retreat. Scripter/helmer Alan Brown uses shrapnel — which can remain buried or suddenly surface — as an apt metaphor. Nick’s ex-girlfriend’s strenuous dance rehearsals feel tacked on, but the dicey give and take between the two men draws viewers in and keeps them there.

Superheroes

Production

An ASAP Films presentation. (International sales: Agathe David-Weill, New York.) Produced by David-Weill, Steven Shapiro. Co-producers, John Kander, Michael Borrelli. Directed, written by Alan Brown.

Crew

Camera (color, Super-16mm/DV), Derek McKane; editor, Craig B. Weiseman; music, Paul Cantelon; production designer, Alexandra Brook Lynn; costume designer, Ellen Pittman Stockbridge. Reviewed at Avignon Film Festival (competing), June 21, 2007. Running time: 87 MIN.

With

Dash Mihok, Spencer Treat Clark, Nancy Giles, Katie Workum, Margo Martindale, Kelly McAndrew.
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