Review by Christopher Maynard
Directed By Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Julia Ormond, Eamon Farron
Ever since Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 masterpiece Full Metal Jacket, Vincent D’Onofrio has been an actor you should pay attention to. With movies as varied as Happy Accidents, JFK, Men in Black, The Break Up and the upcoming Jurassic World, the only common thread in D’Onofrio’s work is the quality of the performances he turns in. This man has range. Even when I don’t enjoy the movies as a whole, his performances are always noteworthy. With all that in mind, D’Onofrio is often playing smaller ancillary characters and is rarely given the amount of screen time he deserves. Chained is not one of those films. Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) is front and center for the duration of this film. This is his story. Well, in truth, it’s the story of Bob and Rabbit (Eamon Farron). Bob is a cab-driving serial killer who kidnaps Rabbit at the age of 9 and holds him hostage for several years. Over the years while luring multiple victims back to his home, Bob tries to force Rabbit into the role of protégée.
Chained has many of the trappings of family drama but is heightened immeasurably by the circumstances surrounding our leads. All of the acting in this film is superb but D’Onofrio is giving a performance on par with – if not better than – the career defining performance he gave in Full Metal Jacket.
Jennifer Chambers Lynch, who is best known for the woefully underrated film Boxing Helena, has created a near perfect film with Chained. The writing, acting, production design and camera work are all understated and grounded in reality. This film was given an NC-17; not for the gore or nudity but for how real it felt. Chances are you have seen films that more violent or sexually explicit but this is one of the more disturbing films you will see.
Despite the disturbing nature of Chained, I can recommend this film whole-heartedly. I would even recommend this film to people who are squeamish and uncomfortable with violence in film. Not because I want people to hate me or have a bad time but simply because this is a great film that people should see. This is not a film that placates to the audience in any way. The punches are never pulled and we feel the full impact of our characters deplorable actions. Nothing about this one is saccharine and it in no way goes down easy, but it is a film you should experience. I hope time will be kind to Chained. It deserves to find an audience and should be spoken of in the same way people speak of Bad Lieutenant or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
Chained is available for rent or purchase through all the major VOD providers and for free through Starz on demand.