ANESTHESIA, releasing tomorrow on Blu-ray and DVD, was a must. I am happy to say that the film in no way disappoints. As written, directed and acted in by Tim Blake Nelson -- one of Hollywood's hugely under-appreciated triple threats, who has already written and directed three fine movies: Eye of God, Leaves of Grass and The Grey Zone, as well as giving a raft of outstanding performances (from Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou? to one of my all-time favorites, the woefully underseen Cherish) -- the movie is as good an ensemble piece as has been produced in a long while.
Sam Waterston (below), and the ideas shown us via his words and deeds will connect to all the other characters we meet in this relatively short movie (it's just 90 minutes long). The connections here are major and minor but they are all important, as are the ideas that pepper the movie. People live by them, for better and worse, and also die by them.
Kristen Stewart, below, who plays his troubled student in yet another small role that this actress nails beautifully. (Every role Ms Stewart tackles seems to take her further light years from that silly Twilight franchise.)
Jessica Hecht (far left) as his wife and Hannah Marks (center, left) and Ben Konigsberg (center, right) as their children -- playing two generations suddenly involved in activities as diverse as a cancer prognosis and virginity-losing.
Gretchen Moll (below, left, with Gloria Reuben) plays an unhappy suburban housewife with a philandering husband and a couple of children to whom she need to be paying better attention. Ms Moll is, as ever, a pleasure to watch.
K. Todd Freeman, whom I've seen a number of times but not paid that much attention to. My mistake. Here he plays a junkie named Joe, trying (but not too hard) to kick his habit. I've seen countless actors play junkies at this point in my long life, but Mr. Freeman's performance is the one I'm most likely to remember. He just about steals the movie, bringing to the role such anger, sadness, power and depth that "memorable" doesn't begin to describe it. Freeman takes this character and turns him into the most honest yet awful and unnecessary waste of potential that you'll have seen.
Michael K. Williams, below, left) who abandons his buddy to spend some very unprofessional time with another lawyer (Annie Parisse, below, right).
From IFC Films, the movie hits the street -- on DVD and Blu-ray (the transfer is a good one, but nothing like that of the recent Every Thing Will Be Fine) -- Tuesday, June 21. for rental or purchase.