Review: Peacock DVD

Peacock DVD boxSTUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Michael Lander | CAST: Cillian Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Ellen Page, Josh Lucas
RELEASE DATE: 4/20/2010 | PRICE: DVD $26.98
BONUSES: alternate ending, deleted scenes, making-of featurette, rehearsal footage
SPECS: PG-13 | 90 min. | Drama | 16×9 | 5.1 Dolby Digital audio | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Independent film Peacock got its first U.S. release on DVD, skipping event art house theaters, which is surprising, because it’s a good film. Not that DVD premiere movies can’t be good, but with the talent and quality of this one, it’s a shame it didn’t get at least a limited theatrical release.

Peacock movie scene with Cillian MurphyPeacock stars Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Red Eye) in a brilliant dual performance as two personalities in the same body. Abused by his mother, Cillian’s John Skillpa leads a quiet life in the remote town of Peacock. He eats breakfast at 8:15 every morning, rides his bicycle to his job at the local bank with a brown bag lunch in his basket, all made by his lovely wife Emma. The twist is, Emma is an alternate personality of John, created when John’s abusing mother died a year ago. She’s everything John wants in a wife/mother, until a train crash in John’s backyard brings Emma into the forefront by the neighbors and threatens to destroy their peaceful existence.

Also in the cast is Juno‘s Ellen Page, the always good Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), Josh Lucas (Daydream Nation) as the local cop and Bill Pullman (The Killer Inside Me) as John’s uptight boss.

But the movie is Murphy’s show, with a great portrayal of two very different people. John is slumped over and unsure of himself; Emma is pretty, friendly and hospitable. (It’s not his first role playing a man dressed a woman, as he portrayed an Irish transgender in Breakfast on Pluto in 2005.)

First-time writers Ryan O. Roy and Michael Lander, who also directed, keeps the suspense up by revealing Murphy’s dual personality just a few minutes into the film. John’s abuse also is set up early on, so the audience feels for the character and longs for his secret to be kept. The movie is about how their lives change because of the train crash and Emma’s newfound independence.

The movie is explored in a very interesting making-of featurette called “Welcome to Peacock.” It’s not the usual fill-in-the-blank-is-a-genius piece. Instead, Lander and Cillian discuss the story and main character(s), and the costume and makeup designers tell how they came up with the small details that help sell that these two characters are separate people coming from the same body. Lander even asked Murphy to use contacts to disguise his trademark blue eyes, which Lander calls Murphy’s “super power.” This change and his body movements make Murphy almost unidentifiable in this film.

Other special features on the DVD are four deleted scenes, an alternate ending and footage of Murphy rehearsing a scene.

This is definitely a film to check out if you like your entertainment interesting and on the edge of your seat.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.