“PEACOCK”–dual personalities



Dual Personalities

Amos Lassen

For some reason, “Peacock” never made it to the big screen and instead was released direct to video. The main focus of the film is on a character, John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy) who works in a bank in Peacock, Nebraska in the 1950’s. He has issues with his mother who died recently and he had been the victim of much abuse from her. Now he dresses as a woman and he has created a new personality and goes by the name of Emma. No one knew about Emma until a train derailed and ended in his backyard. When neighbors come over, they discover Emma and think that she is John’s wife. The train incident becomes fodder for the upcoming election and of course this makes things difficult for John as he must now appear as two different people. But that is not all. John’s mom forced John to have sex with the town tramp, Ellen Page, who gave birth to a son, John, who seems to be losing his grasp on reality.

Emma takes it all in stride and comes up with a plan to end all of the craziness. The plot is dark and psychological and it deals with the alter ego. Murphy is excellent as Emma and as John but he soars as Emma. For a movie of this kind, it goes in all directions and makes clear that that can happen when a mother mistreats a child. It is Cillian Murphy who saves this movie that could have easily become a mess. Instead I see it as a serious work rife with thoughts and emotions. The story moves slowly, but surely, and we find that the action is actually in our own minds. I have read some really poor reviews of “Peacock” and to me that does not matter. I found it insightful and interesting and for a period piece it is exceptionally well done. With a cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Keith Carradine and Bill Pullman, there is not much chance that this film could become boring. I have read several negative reviews but I cannot agree with any of them. Personally I liked the film.

  1. #1 by blip on February 2, 2011 - 4:42 am

    The movie actually takes place in the mid- to late Sixties (the Skillpa car is a 1964 Impala, and there’s a ’68 Nova in the background in one scene). One of the many problems with the script: we don’t know quite “when” we are….

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