Saturday, June 13, 2009

DOWNLOADING NANCY (2009)


Written By Pamela Cuming & Lee Ross


Directed By Johan Renck


Where & When: Laemmle's Sunset 5 West Hollywood, CA , June 9, 2009 1:30PM


"Downloading Nancy", a bleak and disturbing film, is about a woman named Nancy (Maria Bello) who was sexually abused as child and now suffering the effects of this as an adult. She cuts herself to feel something and has recently lost the will to go on. She just wants her pain to stop.

Nancy leaves a note for her husband, Albert (Rufus Sewell) telling him she is visiting friends in Boston. Unaware of her actually knowing anyone there, he's unfazed and goes on with life as usual. After four days, he hasn't heard from his wife and has no way to contact her. He still feels no strong urge to call the police. It doesn't appear that she has ever told him about her history, not that it would appear to matter much to him. He doesn't seem to have noticed how sad and depressed his wife has been lately and more shockingly, the cuts all over her arms and legs.

Nancy has actually gone to Boston to meet Louis, a man she has been corresponding with though the Internet. This man is played by Jason Patric and she has sought him out to help her end her pain. She feels that he understands her and that she is love with him. Before he actually does this, they go through a series of "love games". These are sexually charged where he tortures her emotionally and physically. This includes a particularly nasty scene involving a blindfold and mouse traps.

We learn that Nancy has been seeing a therapist (Amy Brenneman) to try and help her cope with her feelings. This therapist is so inept that she seems to be causing Nancy more harm than good and could use some serious therapy herself.

For some strange reason Louis decides to pay Nancy's husband a visit. He pretends to be a computer technician there to fix Nancy's faulty E-mail and is let into the house. Once Albert realizes this man knows his wife because he is wearing a personal item that belongs to her, he does the obvious thing -- No, he doesn't call the police. He knocks him out with a golf club and hog ties him. When Louis comes to, Albert demands answers. Louis is not forthcoming so Albert bashes him again with the golf club. This seems to turn Louis on, so now Albert doesn't know what to do.

Nothing about "Downloading Nancy" feels real or believable. Every single character is dark and heavy. The dialogue is just plain bizarre and the director's idea of showing emotion is having characters either scream at each other or throwing things or destroying a room. There is not one single light moment to be found throughout the entire film.

The only thing I got out of this was a feeling of depression and despair which is not my idea of entertainment. Nor was this film particularly interesting. I think the filmmaker took a serious subject matter and cheapened it for pure shock value. If there was some kind of point to all of this, I could not even begin to figure out what that was. "Downloading Nancy" is an ugly and disturbing mess and should be avoided at all costs.