From Sony Pictures comes this delightful little comedy, drama called Peel, which sees Emile Hirsch (“Speed Racer”, “Killer Joe“) in fine form as the titular, Peel.
Peel is a wonderful piece of work, both funny and warm, it delights in its ability to touch on hard subjects like drugs, families being split-up, but without ever getting really heavy. It keeps things light with just enough humour and fuzziness to keep you smiling throughout.
Hirsch plays our main man Peel, raised in isolation by his over-protective mother, Amy Brenneman (“Judging Amy (TV)”, “Heat”), when his father runs-out on them both, taking his two brothers with him.
Fast forward some 25-years and, after the passing of his mother, Peel finds himself needing to pay the second mortgage she had taken out on the house, so he rents out a room to Roy, Jack Kesy (“Deadpool 2“, “Deathwish“) who quickly brings in Chuck, Jacob Vargas (“Princess Of The Row”, “The 33”) and then the handsome Chad, Garrett Clayton (“Hairspray Live!”, “King Cobra”).
When things don’t go quite to plan at a pool party, as Roy mistakes the girl Peel likes, Angeline Joo, for her cousin, Peel asks Chad to help him find his long last brothers and, armed with a plank of wood and a small suitcase, he set-off to turn-up unannounced on their doorstep.
He first finds Will, Troy Hall (“Tower Heist”, “The Family Man”), who is happily married with children. Will doesn’t have the answers Peel is looking for and also doesn’t know where their other brother, Sam, Shiloh Fernandez (“Red Riding Hood”, “Deadgirl”), is.
Undeterred, Peel tracks him down, finding a drug addict with little to live for and unhappy at the world, particularly his family. The gentle, quiet and unassuming Peel enters both their lives and changes them for ever.
Written by Lee Karaim (“Kiss The Girls Goodbye”) and directed by Rafael Monserrate (“Imagine This!”, “The Dissection Of Thanksgiving”), Peel is a lovely, calming, well-shot and well-acted movie.
You feel like you know where this is all going: a worldly man moves in with an un-worldly man and advantage is going to be taken. But instead it goes a different, far nicer route. Sure you could probably pick holes in how it’s done, how that doesn’t happen despite little input from Peel, but forget that and just enjoy it, go with the flow, you’ll enjoy it far more.
Hirsch is perfect as Peel. He looks like a very young Jack Black but is way down on the madness scale. He’s calming, relaxed, enough shyness and vulnerability that you believe he’s been brought up in isolation, but he also has a twinkle in his eye, a wry smile that tells you he knows more than he’s letting on.
One of the stars of the movie is the wonderful Vargas. He plays Chuck, the Spanish speaking, well-dressed man of mystery who always has a cigar in his mouth, a drink of home-made moonshine in his hand, and speaks in quotes and “life-phrases”. It is a subtle, yet great performance.
Peel’s complete innocence, his lack of anger towards anyone and anything, is a delight, don’t sweat the small stuff, and this is a film you can enjoy and love, now, where’s my snorkel?