“That’s where you and I y’know, a little different. I don’t exactly have faith in that… racket.”
“What the friendship racket? Y’know you had a lot of friends here Ben, a lot of friends.”
“y’know, I’ll tell you where’s a place for friends. Y’know where in that-that-that mid-range where everything is comfortable, and we’re all the same right there in the middle huh? But at your highest moments… and your lowest… you’re alone.”
Michael Douglas delivers a memorable, and touching performance in the 2009 drama Solitary Man. Directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien deliver an outstanding film based on the character Ben Kalmen, a successful car salesman who risked big, and lost. Ben was at the height of his power as the film opens, set six years in the past. He had a loving wife & daughter played by Susan Sarandon and Jenna Fischer, a successful business, money, and fame and yet all that came down around him after a visit to the doctor.
From this point Ben decides to live life without consequences. He begins to cheat on his wife, and when she doesn’t immediately notice, he’s spurred along. The same goes for his business as he was once known as the only honest car salesman in New York, he’s now looked at as a fraud and has difficulty finding anyone willing to take a chance on him. In present day Ben is dating Mary-Louise Parker’s Jordon Karsch, and agrees to take her daughter to his Alma Mater in hopes that he can use his influence to get her into the school. Things go downhill from here quickly for Ben as he gets in fights, seems to fall in love, makes deals and has them fall through and is told never to return to campus. Once he’s completely broken, Ben turns to his family for support, something he’s burned them on numerous times. He finds that everyone has limitations yet some people no matter what will always love him.
The film really is an acting showpiece for Michael Douglas. As this solitary man, he’s a beautiful mix of Gordon Gecko from Wall Street and Grady Tripp from Wonder Boys. Those are my two favorite Michael Douglas performances up to this point and while Solitary Man may not quite be the film those two are, the acting and the cast are brilliant and surely make this film one to check out. Joining Douglas in the film are stars such as Jesse Eisenberg, Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker, Jenna Fischer, and Danny DeVito. For such a small film the acting and actors in it are indeed something special here. The tale of the lecherous old man has been told many times and it’s something that I come into contact with working with the public on a daily basis. It’s nice to see here that Douglas plays the character with few redeeming qualities yet he’s so slick and is such a smooth talker that’s it’s very tough to resist the performance, the character, and this film.