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Don McKay (2010)

Thomas Haden Church , Elisabeth Shue , Jake Goldberger  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Thomas Haden Church, Elisabeth Shue, Melissa Leo, M. Emmet Walsh, Keith David
  • Directors: Jake Goldberger
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003E0YU0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,084 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Don McKay" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this edgy thriller, Don McKay (Thomas Haden Church, Sideways) flees his hometown after a horrendous tragedy and vows never to return. But 25 years later he comes back to find a dark menace looming over the town. As he attempts to rekindle his romance with an old high school girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas), Don is pulled into a malevolent world from which he may never escape.

There's urban noir, like Night and the City, and suburban noir, like Double Indemnity. With Don McKay, Jake Goldberger puts his stamp on the latter, offering a sad-sack janitor (producer Thomas Haden Church), who returns to his East Coast hometown when he learns that his old girlfriend, Sonny (Elisabeth Shue), has a terminal illness. Sonny, who spends her days in shiny negligees, wants to get back together, which suits Don just fine, though he has his doubts about Dr. Pryce (James Rebhorn), and Marie (Melissa Leo, stealing every scene), Sonny's live-in nurse, who both act more like jealous lovers than medical professionals. When Pryce tries to strangle Don, he kills the man in self-defense and hides the body, turning to his friend, Otis (Keith David), for help, since the police aren't likely to believe him due to the events of the past (Goldberger withholds the details until the end). In the meantime, Don puts up with Sonny's tempestuous seduction act until he can't take it anymore, but escaping her clutches proves unexpectedly difficult, especially once blackmailer Mel (Pruitt Taylor Vince) enters the scene. As in the melodramas of yore, characters say the most preposterous things, but Goldberger keeps you guessing as to their real motives. If he casts Church and Shue against type, that only deepens the central mystery, though the star comes off better than his leading lady, who sometimes seems lost. Still, their talents ensure that the writer-director's debut doesn't slide into farce--though it sure comes close. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Comedy Thriller with a Slow Fuse April 15, 2010
By Compay
Don Mckay is an indie film that was only shown in seven theaters nationwide, but it's actually a good watch on DVD. What sets this film apart from other low-budget projects is that it features a great cast of veteran actors.

The movie starts off as a thriller with a slow fuse, with the film evolving into a black comedy in the final half hour. While Don Mckay isn't as well-written or interesting as a Coen Brothers film, it scores points for throwing the audience curveballs. I thought the story was obvious and predictable, until the conclusion approached. There's simply no way that you can predict how the story will unfold or conclude.

The best part of Don Mckay is the cast. Elisabeth Shue is gorgeous as Sonny, Don Mckay's old girlfriend who conveniently wears seductive sleepwear for most of the movie (I'm not complaining). Keith David (the Imam in Pitch Black) gives a nice performance as Mckay's buddy Otis Kent, though he unfortunately doesn't get much screen time. The movie is also rounded out with performances by veteran actors Pruitt Taylor Vince, M. Emmet Walsh, and James Rebhorn. The standout performance in the movie is by Melissa Leo (Frozen River), who is spectacular as Marie, Sonny's caregiver. I was a bit disappointed by Thomas Haden Church's performance in the lead role. It may have been intentional for Mckay to be a shell of a man, but Church has the same expression on his face for almost the entire movie. Also, the cinematography by first-time director Jake Goldberger is decent, and I enjoyed the film score by Steven Bramson.

While Don Mckay is basically a straight-to-video movie, it's much better than your typical Redbox rental. It won't have you on the edge of your seat the whole time, but it still offers a great cast and an unpredictable ending.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's David Lynch When You Need Him? July 3, 2010
This is pretty much an oddball film but it's played too straight to pull off the oddballishness. Others have recounted the story so I won't bother. It IS a noir genre piece with a real cock-eyed approach. The first two acts are something you'd expect from David Lynch but they don't have Lynch's sense of quirkiness so you might find yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what the director was going for.

This is Thomas Hayden Church's production so he must have seen something here. The question is what. He must have also seen something in the McKay character but that seems elusive as well. He wears a particular expression on his face throughout nearly the entire movie but I can't quite pin it. Is he dumb? Is he dumbfounded? Is he in a constant state of amazement? Whatever, it wears thin rather quickly. The plot does keep you on your toes and I really wanted to find out what the entire thing was about, and in that sense it was quite satisfying. In the third act they drop the weirdness and the film takes a sudden turn for the straight. All the cards are on the table and the plot knots get, well.....unknotted.

The acting is decent. Elizabeth Shue isn't at her best but, as I'd pay to watch eat cornflakes, it didn't slow my enjoyment. The production values were good enough to get the point across. The one thing that really threw me were the songs. They seemed to have nothing to do with what was happening and did absolutely nothing to enhance or underscore what was happening on the screen.

This isn't a bad movie by any means and I didn't find myself looking at my watch. But if you don't get to see a lot of movies, I wouldn't put this high on my list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky sleeper March 15, 2012
By Jazzcat
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Offbeat? Absolutely. Quality acting? No doubt. Active attention required? Yes. This is not the type of movie you kick back and mindlessly enjoy while texting on your cell phone. "Don McKay" requires your attention. I thought it was worth the effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low simmer suspense January 8, 2011
Don has been living a life of a loner. A janitor at a high school, he hides a secret and because of that he has not visited the town that he grew up in for many years. A former flame ( Elizabeth Shue)pleads with him to come back home to spend time with her as she is terminally ill. As he returns, he is immediately sucked in to a web of deception involving shady characters, murder and suspicion.
I thought this movie was just alright and has adequate suspense and intrigue to keep things interesting. Each character was shady and this angle made the movie interesting. In many ways it reminded me of a short story or a play adapted for the big screen. Thomas Haden Church as the clueless character was great and the rest of the characters provided him support. While this may not be the best of suspenseful movies, it was still watchable and the final frame offered closure. Three stars. 01/02/11
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See It Twice to Really enjoy it January 3, 2011
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I had time to kill and I'm glad don McKay didn't waste it.

this was an odd film, but I'm a fan of thomas Haden Church that I had to check it out.

I was not disappointed.

though it was a slow beginning, the actors kept me interested in what the heck was going on.

I was truly entwined in what could be a love story, what should have been a simple murder plot, and what was supposed to be a by the book thriller.

But this movie was none of that and for that, I applaud Don McKay for being my secret movie that was really good for the first of the year.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not what I expected, but interesting.
Published 1 month ago by New Leaf
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Like Don McKay who was fantasizing over a long lost love, I too wanted to see Elizabeth Shue again from Karate Kid fame. I have no words to describe what a waste of time this was. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eric from Chicago
2.0 out of 5 stars Weird
I love independent films in general. I also love drama and suspense. This movie DOES have you guessing about Don's past in the town he goes back to in order to see Sonny... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kissiz4Tati
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of "Twin Peaks," but in a good way.
Fascinating, strange, unpredicatable, at times funny; clever, artistic; great acting, directing, and cinematography. Read more
Published on May 9, 2011 by The Thinker
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange and difficult to fathom

This is a very weird story of a man who comes back to his hometown, supposedly to reconnect with his lost love, knowing full well that she is not the... Read more
Published on November 8, 2010 by Viva
3.0 out of 5 stars Low budget disjointed scare movie w/twists & unsure ending
This movies starts off slow and I was unsure why I rented a SCARY movie. I choose it by the cover and the list of stars and thought it would have more humor, if it was there I... Read more
Published on July 20, 2010 by TJ-STL
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing
I liked the movie. It is not a fast moving plot, but you are constantly trying to figure out what is going on because things don't add up. Read more
Published on June 29, 2010 by Dave Meldrum
1.0 out of 5 stars This is on the BEST of the WORSE films....EVER!
PURE MST3K fodder. My girlfriend and I couldnt stop making fun of this film. Tries to be NEO-NOIR, then in the middle of the film they say, ok lets be a dark comedy? FAIL! Read more
Published on June 26, 2010 by Ema
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