banner image

:: Igby Goes Down

Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin) is an angry, rebellious and sarcastic seventeen-year-old, at odds with his world of wealth and privilege. His father Jason (Bill Pullman) is in an institution suffering from schizophrenia, his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) is a pill popping, self obsessed socialite who is dying of cancer, and his brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is a cold, young republican, college student.
After several unsuccessful stints at elite preparatory schools, Igby’s mother makes good on her promise to send him to military school. This proves to be the last straw for the malcontented Igby and with his mother’s stolen credit card, he embarks upon a new life, doing everything his way, although largely unsure as to what this might entail. Igby’s world becomes filled with a group of transient characters stemming from his godfather D.H (Jeff Goldblum) to D.H’s girlfriend (Amanda Peet), her artist friend Russel (Jared Harris) and his would be soul mate Sookie (Claire Danes). It becomes apparent that his father’s breakdown has had a huge effect on the young Igby and he continually attempts to outrun the possibility of an inherited insanity.
Kieran Culkan is brilliantly cast and succeeds in balancing Igby’s handsome, cynical, potentially solipsistic spoilt brat, with a character who garners audience sympathy with his cutting wisecracks and world-weary observations. Igby refuses to sit back and let the circumstances of his superficial good fortune dominate his life. He has seen the perils of wealth and privilege and it is the perceived imbued hypocrisy of this world that he blames for the breakdown of his father.
First time writer/director Burr Steers hauled his script around to various studios for two years before his film began to take shape. His character of Igby is perhaps the closest embodiment of a modern day Holden Caulfield (from J.D Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye) to be portrayed on film. (Salinger famously refuses to let his novel be adapted to the screen). Overall, the whole comic/tragic feel of Igby Goes Down film is vaguely reminiscent of American Beauty and is sure to attain similar cult status. The film contains a great soundtrack featuring Coldplay, The Beta Band and Badly Drawn Boy.