Video on Demand — November 2016

Video pick of the month


Set in 1951, as the Korean War is raging, Indignation is the story of a young college freshman, Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), who escapes both the dark premonitions of his overbearing father, a kosher butcher in Newark, New Jersey, as well as the draft by enrolling in a small liberal arts college in Winesburg, Ohio. An atheist and a virgin, however, he’s flummoxed by what he encounters in Winesburg, including a first date with campus beauty Olivia (Sarah Gadon) that ends, mysteriously, in oral sex.

If you’ve read anything about this beautifully acted film, you’ve undoubtedly heard of its centerpiece, an intensely argumentative 15-minute dialogue between Marcus and Dean Caudwell (Tracy Letts). Arguing the philosophy of Bertrand Russell as well as the school’s religious requirements, the two go at it in a scene that is, by turns, thrilling, uncomfortable and hilarious. And while the reviews are all hailing the scene’s razor-sharp performances, it’s worth also noting its structural boldness. Bisecting the film, this long, intense exchange gives clarity to the film’s rhetorical designs. Indignation is many things — a Roth-ian coming-of-age tale and a mordant treatise on young love among them — but it’s also a film about how what may seem like the randomness of fate is actually the byproduct of a swirl of cultural and political forces. (Scott Macaulay)

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