Role models are necessary in a film about kids, but it's the ones that no one should emulate are the ones that are fun to watch. Hesher takes the idea of anti-exemplar and cranks it up to 11. Set in the 80s presumably, it tells the tale of TJ, a troubled kid who lost his mom in a tragic car accident, which he and his clinically depressed father survived. Both he and his grieving dad are shacked up with grandma, who is resigned to only hoping to see her son and grandson get better and move on with their lives.
Enter the enigmatic Hesher, the town badass. He seems like he belongs in an 80s metal band, complete with long hair, bad tattoos, and a black belt in the art of not giving a shit. Basically, he was the guy that any 80s metal head kid wanted to be when they grew up, before they came to the realization that such guys always ended up living shitty lives. He mysteriously shows up at TJ's home, to which none of the family seems to have much of a problem with, nor does anyone ask him to leave, and decides to take up residence there. He follows TJ around for reasons unbeknownst to anyone, including the audience, and tries to mentor him in being hardcore. Hesher gets TJ in trouble, tries to tell him about the birds and the bees in a fashion you would expect, and basically is more of a nuisance than a real friend.
While struggling with the death of his mother and being tormented by a kid uglier than the bully in "A Christmas Story", TJ meets a mousy, lonely checkout clerk, who catches his eye. Hesher, naturally, makes some attempt to get TJ to woo his much older crush, but that, as with many things Hesher touches, goes to shit.
Hesher is a movie I can strongly recommend, based on the performances of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rainn Wilson alone. The former plays the title character brilliantly, sometimes funny, sometimes charming, and sometimes downright scary and disturbing, this role really showcases Levitt's talents better than any other I've seen him play. Even TJ, played by Devin Brochu, works really well and I'm looking forward to seeing him in more films. The plot shouldn't seem too interesting, but it is compelling thanks to the cryptic nature of the story.
So who is Hesher? Is he some sort of fucked up Mary Poppins? Is he an angel making foolish attempts at sprouting wings? Is he just some drifter who's cold black heart was softened by TJ and he feels compelled to aid in the grieving process? Watch and find out.
Thanks to Mattbear (who needs to blog for fuck's sake) for submitting this. Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on One Bad Apple. Rules are posted here.
"Hesher himself [is] a mysterious, magnetic, repellent, and alluring figure... It's quite an astonishing performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt." - Jeffrey M Anderson