Director: Mike Mills

U.S.A.| 2005. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 95 min.

This is regular RESFEST alumnus Mike Mills’ highly anticipated feature film debut, which has already won prizes at the Sundance festival and drawn comparisons with Donnie Darko. An adaptation of Walter Kern’s coming-of-age novel, Thumbsucker follows the travails of 17-year-old Justin Cobb and his family as the hapless teenager tries half-heartedly to ‘fix’ his oral obsession by replacing it with a host of amusing alternatives, including Ritalin. Lou Taylor Pucci plays the confused Justin, Tilda Swinton his emphatic mother, Vincent D’Onofrio his gruff father, and Keanu Reeves is the family’s amusing ‘guru-orthodontist’. Mills’ trademark affection for the fluidity and openness of teen identity is very much in evidence, with the central protagonist starting out as a model of modern maladjustment before transforming into an arrogant bully as well as other roles. Thumbsucker is constantly surprising, frequently very funny and genuinely moving in its brilliant final act. The music, most of it by the Polyphonic Spree, is terrific.

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