KEANE (Lodge H. Kerrigan). 93 minutes. Opens Friday (June 16). For venues and times, see Movies, page 107. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
Here's a question: can Keane , a harrowing and completely absorbing look at one man's private hell, find an audience amidst the summer comedies and actioners? Hope so.
In the film's opening sequence, 30-something William Keane ( Damian Lewis ) is scouring New York's Port Authority Bus Terminal looking for his six-year-old girl, Sophie, who was apparently abducted. He retraces his steps, displays a picture of her.
As he receives blank stares and becomes increasingly manic in reaction, we begin to wonder if he ever actually had a daughter, and if so, what really happened to her.
Writer/director Lodge H. Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven) lets the camera hover around Keane all the time, plunging us immediately and claustrophobically into the man's paranoid world. If you've ever wondered what it's like inside the mind of someone who's mentally ill, this film attempts to show you - with empathy and a lack of sentimentality.
The second half plays with our emotions even further as Keane befriends a distraught woman ( Amy Ryan ) and her seven-year-old daughter ( Abigail Breslin ) staying at the same hotel as he is. Before long, the mom is leaving the daughter with him, and we become concerned not only about Keane's mental state but about that of a mother who would do such a thing.
Kerrigan has a good feel for the anonymous corridors, streets and washrooms of urban life, and he gets nuanced, naturalistic performances from his actors. In a tough role, Lewis never loses focus, both in his violent outbursts and his quieter scenes, where he displays a mournful, gruff charm that suggests a lifetime of worry.