directed by Arnaud Desplechin, 2013
It’s been six years since Arnaud Desplechin’s widely hailed 2008 holiday melodrama A Christmas Tale, a film that was as rich, inviting and maddening as it was overstuffed and energetic. His latest, Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian), which premiered at Cannes to much lesser praise, finds the director ditching the sprawling scope of his previous film, this time focusing on the true story of a pair of men and the bond they reach through psychotherapy. While at first glance this seems appropriate material for Desplechin to delve into, Jimmy P. comes across as a willfully uneven psychiatric period drama, in which a great deal is articulated only to yield less than desirable results.
Still, Jimmy P. is far from a failure and remains intermittently interesting due to its cast. The reliable Benicio del Toro plays Native American Blackfoot Jimmy Picard, a gentle WWII vet plagued by spells of dizziness, headaches, odd dreams, and recurring hearing loss. Brought in to make sense of Picard’s affliction and schizophrenic diagnosis is French anthropologist and Native American researcher Georges Devereux (Mathieu Amalric). The casting of the two actors might suggest a far more enlivened look at the subject matter at hand, but Deplechin surprisingly scales back the theatrics, paving the way for a much more sobering and traditional narrative.
Read full review at Movie Mezzanine