by Douglas Messerli
At one point in the film, after revealing just how much Thomson’s daughter Sam is feeling sorry for herself, actor Mike Shiner asks her outright what she sees as her dilemma in life, daring her to answer why she feels so hurt about the fact that her father has been absent for much of her youth and sought to make up those absences with false praises. Just how is she so very different from anyone else? his questions imply. Those are my feelings precisely with regard to Thomson. Don’t all the problems he’s currently facing come with the territory of any necessarily self-centered actor? After all, in a career where someone works so hard at being anyone else, why should we imagine that he or she might later find it difficult to discover his or her own self? In short, why should we care about this character central to González Iñárritu’s fable?
Los Angeles, Janaury 16, 2015