Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama Detention (1998/I) aka Learning Curve

Detention (1998/I) aka Learning Curve

Although applying the storyline of Detention to today’s times leaves a few logic weaknesses, it is still a wonderful and endearing story, especially to the frustrated educators in public education. Indeed it is something of a cross between redemption and an avenging angel. Clearly made on the budget of a “B” movie, both its story and the great acting performances of its cast propel it to much higher esteem.

The two most interesting roles served are those by John S. Davies (always a joy to see perform) as, Walmsley and the lovely Susana Gibb as, Julie. Ms. Gibb is highly convincing as a teenage derelict brought to discover meaning in education, and respect for its teachers when discipline is thrown into the mix. Her character delineation is delightful and her interpretation of the role grand. The other “forced” student roles are professional and convincing as well.

Director/writer, Andy Anderson shows an equal amount of brilliance in both his script and in the management of camera shots, scene changes, special effects and astute economy of his selections in the way he dispenses detail. This “economy” brings in the viewer’s interest like speaking low draws in the listener. Details in even dialog have planted confusion and error that further enhance the story yet are realistic and natural, something only the best of playwrights can accomplish.

It takes many qualities in an actor to assume the role of Mr. Walmsley for he is to be brought to the the very pinnacle of self-sacrifice and courage. His circumstance, seasoning in life, Jack-of-all-trades abilities, and adept regard for knowledge are musts for his actions and success. Mr. Davies pulls this off brilliantly with a display of humanity for which Samuel Clemens would be proud.

Towards the end, the viewer may ask such questions as, “how much does a firm knowledge base play in building character?” and just what is the significance of the one novel shown, Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness, to it all? If you must ask, perhaps you need a little “detention (camp)” time too. Just joking…maybe.

Adult language, partial nudity, not fare for the “learning hurts” anti-intellectual (at least in non-captive status.)

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