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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tour de force performance by Cillian Murphy in psychological drama
Cillian Murphy portrays a young man, John Skilpa, with multiple personality disorder, something he has learned to live with through an almost invisible job and compulsively strict routine. However, when a train carriage lands in his back garden, it is his life that starts to off the rails as the balance of his personalities shifts. The event brings others into his...
Published 14 months ago by Mr. Stephen Kennedy

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Psycho without the showers and carving knives - or the drama
The old adage that films don't get released, they escape certainly holds true about Michael Lander's Peacock: filmed in 2008, released straight to DVD in the US in 2010 and not making it to the UK for another 4 years, it's easy enough to see why this curious 50s-set drama was never going to attract much of an audience. A more benign spin on Norman/Norma Bates with Cillian...
Published 14 months ago by Trevor Willsmer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tour de force performance by Cillian Murphy in psychological drama, 28 Mar. 2014
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Cillian Murphy portrays a young man, John Skilpa, with multiple personality disorder, something he has learned to live with through an almost invisible job and compulsively strict routine. However, when a train carriage lands in his back garden, it is his life that starts to off the rails as the balance of his personalities shifts. The event brings others into his orbit; a young woman from his past (Ellen Page who I wager you have never seen quite so vulnerable), the mayor, and his wife (Susan Sarandon) and the kindly law officer (Josh Lucas), as well as forcing him to interact more with his almost equally kooky boss (Bill Pullman) and the bank manager (Keith Carradine). Quite a cast, and they are all quite fantastic. Murphy wrings believability out of a role which could have been farcical – we believe the at times almost unbelievable, that the town do not recognise his alter ego for who he really is. If the story might not be to everyone’s taste, just a little weird and dare I say it, Gothic, it should be relished that here is really good storytelling, with a willing and able cast. There’s an expectation here that the audience will engage gear and fill in the cracks.. when sympathies are evoked for characters who do unsavoury things – you are meant to consider what that means, rather than just let yourself be manipulated in Hollywood style. If the elegant and thoughtful portrayal of someone with this condition is the plus point, the ending is could arguably where it falls slightly off track. It’s not a bad or a wrong ending, just a bit more average than what had preceded it.
With no fanfare and zero visibility at the time of release, and only now surfacing here on DVD, you might expect this to be a non-event of a film.. but I suggest this is a film worth watching. It is not an easy or engaging watch – it is fractured, and a little disturbing – an ominous mood pervades, and your feelings for the lead will be torn between sympathy and horror, but presumably not identification. And yet, it is a compelling portrayal by Murphy and his supporting cast, and a well crafted piece. If something a little quirky and low key that does not fit in the usual Hollywood mould is your thing, give this a shot. At less than 90 minutes, you’re not being asked too much.. and you’ll likely never see Cillian Murphy the same way again.
(7/10)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Psycho without the showers and carving knives - or the drama, 19 Mar. 2014
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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The old adage that films don't get released, they escape certainly holds true about Michael Lander's Peacock: filmed in 2008, released straight to DVD in the US in 2010 and not making it to the UK for another 4 years, it's easy enough to see why this curious 50s-set drama was never going to attract much of an audience. A more benign spin on Norman/Norma Bates with Cillian Murphy back in a dress again after Breakfast on Pluto, it's about the twin lives of a dysfunctional bank clerk who still bears the mental scars inflicted on him by his sinister reclusive mother and who spends his spare hours with the curtains drawn dressed as the wife he doesn't have. Nobody's any the wiser until a train crash nearly kills her and she finds herself increasingly drawn into the life of the town that she has gone to such lengths to hide from, in the process leading to a schism as `she' becomes the dominant personality and sets in motion a chain of events she hasn't thought through that will destroy him. Only in this instance it doesn't involve showers and carving knives but a badly thought out plan to adopt his illegitimate son.

It's for the most part well acted by a decent cast - Ellen Page, Susan Sarandon, Keith Carradine, Josh Lucas, though Bill Pullman overdoes the bunched-up shoulders Uriah Heap obsequiousness as Murphy's immediate boss at the bank - but while it doesn't bore, it doesn't particularly draw you in. For most of the film it's a character study of a man/woman you learn almost everything about ten minutes into the film with the supporting players merely catalysts for the power struggle between his two personalities. Yet there's little tension even when it's hinted (via a Joan Crawford makeover) that `she' might just be a recreation of his mother and an act of violence finally occurs, and while it doesn't quite completely fizzle out it certainly feels very thin. It doesn't help that it's set in that stereotypical vision of a past where primary colours and more than 40-watt light bulbs don't exist to overemphasis the claustrophobia and stifling social pressures, which adds a layer of overused clichéd visual shorthand to a film that is at least trying to be a bit original.

Lionsgate's DVD offers a decent 1.85:1 transfer that reflects the bleak cinematography, but the only extra is a 21-minute making of featurette.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cillian's Slow Burner, 10 May 2014
By 
Graeme Wright "book worm" (salford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Peacock starts off strangely and then just carries on from one degree of strangeness to another. Collina Murphy plays John, a somewhat solitary bank worker in a Midwestern town whose world is turned upside down when the dominant mother who he lives with dies. John invents a female character who prepares his meals for him, leaves him shopping lists and looks after the house just like his dear mum. This character is called Emma and, despite the wig and female clothes, bears an uncanny resemblance to Cillian Murphy. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another movie in that pot boiled Hollywood genre dealing with split personality.
In a way Peacock is superior to many similar movies insomuch that the viewer can sympathise with the predicament that John/Emma faces when the small minded towns folk begin to guess at what is happening in their conservative midst. The problem is that the storyline is so slow and pedestrian that it takes something of an effort to reach the end. Despite the high quality of the acting, especially from Murphy and Susan Sarandon, and superior cinematography some plodding scriptwriting and lack of action really make this a film for completists. It is unsurprising to learn that it went straight to DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling., 24 Feb. 2014
By 
S. Broadbent "cyberspaceexpress" (Devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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This is an odd but strangely compelling film which exceeded my expectations.
It concerns a bank clerk in small town America who has a split personality.
By day he is a quite, hard working file clerk, at home he is his alter ego, a woman who happens to be his wife.
The town's people know both his characters but have never worked out why they never appear together.
Somehow he makes this life work until one day a train derails and crashes into his front garden. The accident triggers a series of
events that threaten his quite lifestyle, with both personalities fighting each other in dealing with the aftermath of the crash.
I won't spoil the film for anyone, but will add that it's a good story, well written, tightly directed, low budget and brilliantly acted.
I was surprised by how good this film is and really enjoyed it.
For the money it's a bargain, recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "I just want things to go back the way they were!", 16 April 2014
By 
Sam Woodward (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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I guess it was only a matter of time before Susan Sarandon & Ellen Page ended up in the same movie, since both are similarly drawn to character-driven movies a little way down the beaten track from the Hollywood mainstream. Films which often contain interesting ideas but not quite enough of that 'je ne sais quoi' to ever be hits - films like Peacock, in other words. Nevertheless they can both act their socks off & never give a duff performance. And the same can apparently be said for leading man (& woman) Cillian Murphy. So it's certainly worth a rent.

Peacock has obvious parallels with Psycho. Like Norman Bates before him, John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy) has been so traumatised by the death of his overbearing mother that he alternates between being his male self at work & his female alter-ego at home. Subconsciously aware of what is really going on & concerned that he may inflict the sort of harm upon others as his mother forced upon him, he retreats from the outside world. Thus he struggles to cope when events beyond his control lead to intense public scrutiny.

It's an interesting enough film & nicely acted. Nevertheless, a significant suspension of disbelief is required, as it's hard to believe that not one single person who spoke to both 'John' & his femal alter-ego 'Emma' within an hour of each other happened to notice that they looked remarkably alike, or that 'Emma's' voice was merely as feminine as Dustin Hoffman's in Tootsie. Why everyone assumed that 'Emma' was the wife of 'John' & not his sister when they looked so similar is beyond me - sure, Clark Kent gets away with it without even lipstick or a wig but then Superman films aren't intended to be as sympathetic as this one. Moreover, everyone in the small town of Peacock is they are totally fine with a work colleague they have known for years suddenly having a wife who he has never mentioned before, who none of them went to school with & can't have come from outside the area since 'John' barely leaves his house, never mind the town itself. But that's Hollywood for you.

I was interested throughout but not hooked; and despite the fine acting was never fully drawn in. The sound was frustrating - the characters' voices were so quiet that I had to pump the volume right up & was subject to an overwhelming crescendo whenever the sparse mood music kicked in. No doubt my neighbours were, too. Still, some nice ideas were touched upon (gender identity issues, our innate inability to cope with change, dealing with mental health issues when we're just about sane enough to realise we're crazy but not quite sane enough to seek help in the right way) but most weren't pursued very far.

Worth a punt if you like sedate independents like White Palace (Sarandon) & Hard Candy (Page) which are nicely acted but rather OTT in places. But still a renter, not a buyer, which I predict will shortly appear on Netflix (the modern-day equivalent of the Blockbuster 99p bin, bless it).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and unusual but somewhat disturbing., 9 Mar. 2014
By 
Mr. G. Bridgeman-clarke "Graham BC" (Rayleigh, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Those three words really do sum up this movie. Without any spoilers it is about a rather mixed up male who loses his mother but just can't let go. The acting is spot on and you are drawn into the saga and I for one did not know where and how it would end.

My wife found it slow at the start but considering the subject, thats understandable.

Its not a Sunday afternoon family film, but more the "I want to watch something which makes me think" type movie.

Enjoyable, but can't see me watching it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow burning drama/ thriller, 17 April 2014
By 
K. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Peacock centres on small town introvert John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy) and the dark secret he tries hard to keep hidden. After a train derails in his garden, his neighbours begin to learn more about John’s life and it becomes even more difficult for him to keep up his facade. Whilst the cast are strong and the premise interesting, ultimately the story is a little dull and the watcher has to constantly suspend disbelief which makes it an average film overall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Peculiar Bird, 2 Mar. 2014
By 
Mr. Stephen Redman (York England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Peacock is an independent movie that clearly didn’t have an enormous budget but delivers atmospheric sets all the same. This is a movie that immediately has an air of Hitchcock’s Psycho about it. The main character has a developing personality disorder, in which he is mot initially aware that he is living two separate lives as a man and wife. The two personalities communicate via notes left on food, but quickly one identity begins to assert itself with respect to the other.

Set in an American small town (800 population), it is amazing that no one has really picked up on the two characters in one house, and this is a comment on the loneliness of modern living.

I would never have bought this movie, and am still not sure that I really liked it, but one has to admire the work that has gone into it from script development onwards. One thing for sure is that the main two characters played by Cillian Murphy are cooked to perfection, and he deserves great credit for his acting. Susan Sarandon plays a significant part too, and this is evidence of the calibre of the cast.

I was relieved from the special features to discover that I was not supposed to draw a specific conclusion from the end – because I found it confusing. Clearly we are intended to imagine several ways the life of Emma may work out, which does make a certain sense out of it.

Truthfully, I look to cinema for entertainment rather than for deep social comment or to make my bring hurt, and for that reason I cannot say this will ever appear on a list of great movies to watch that I would write, but it does lean towards the psychological horror genre, and it doesn’t do a bad job. If the quality of script is the vital factor to you then buy this disk, but if you are looking for something less dark then look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross Dressing Shenanigans from an excellent cast in small town USA, 1 Mar. 2014
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Peacock is a small American town and our tale is set some time that looks like the sixties, but this might just be stylistic. Anyhow we meet a rather handsome lady called Emma, she is busy making breakfast for somebody else and doing housework like washing and putting the clothes out on the line. Then we see `Emma' take off her wig to reveal Cillian Murphy!!!Yes the shock of it all, and he now becomes John. John eats his brekky and reads the notes Emma has left for him. He then goes off to do some boring job at the local bank where he seems to be used as a sort of door mat. Albeit one with some serious mental health issues.

Well one day something happens that means Emma (so far a secret) is discovered and the locals just assume she is Mrs John Skillpa. So she goes from being a person hiding behind closed curtains to become a woman entangled in the town life. Lurking at the back of all of this is John dead mother. She seems to have had some sort of malevolent control over John and as the film reveals more you start to realise that John might be a bit psychologically damaged and that perhaps Mommy had something to do with it.

Cillian Murphy is an excellent actor and we have seen him in cross dress mode before in the wonderful `Breakfast on Pluto'. Here he is ably supported by Susan Sarandon and Ellen Page as single mum and `trailer park trash' `Maggie'. The whys and wherefores will keep you guessing and that can be seen as a strength and probably a weakness as some may feel too much is left unanswered but that can also indicate intelligent film making. Made in 2010 and just out in the UK which I am grateful for as it was a very rewarding watch indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinatingly sinister, 25 Feb. 2014
By 
Peter Piper (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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This film is certainly different to most of the others currently on offer. It is the story of a boy who was so abused by his mother that he became schizophrenic. One of his personalities is a bank clerk, John. The other is Emma who stays close to the house, never going further than the garden to hang out the washing. The arrangement works well until Emma is discovered when a railway car ploughs into the garden after tipping off the track running beside the house.

The two personalities communicate by hand-written notes but when Emma's presence is revealed to the town, the delicate balance between them is upset. Things get further out of hand when a young woman calls.

The acting throughout is spot on, with the 'two leads' being played with absolute conviction by Cillian Murphy. The film is quite 'European' in character, in that everything is played so that there is an under-tow of threat and fear, rather than overt physical violence. A very superior psychological thriller, in which the ending is deliberately but tantalisingly ambiguous.

DVD extras: there is an interesting 'Making Of' feature which lasts 21 minutes.
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