Starring: Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, Susan Surandon, Josh Lucas, Bill Pullman, Keith Carradine
John Skillpa is a quiet bank clerk living in the small town of Peacock, Nebraska where he has a split personality: his own, non-existant wife, Emma. He's perfectly content living this double life in private, but when a train crashes into his backyard, his female half gets revealed to the world and slowly becomes his dominant personality.
Cillian Murphy playing a double role of a man and a woman who are in fact the same person with a split personality disorder who has to hide this eery fact from everyone in town even after being thrust into the local lime light? YES PLEASE! Move over, Norman Bates, there's a new guy/girl in town!
John Skillpa is a quiet bank clerk in the sleepy little town of Peacock, Nebraska. He's a simple man who's exceedingly good at his job of keeping the books and has no problem taking on the various tasks his boss gives him to do in his small downstairs room that's essentially a broom closet with a desk. Every day, it's the same routine. Go to work, put some of his money away in a private account, go home, hide his special things away, go to sleep, wake up the next morning, put on a wig, dress, and make-up, do chores, cook breakfast for himself and write a note, go to bed, wake up as is for the first time, shower and dress, eat earlier cooked breakfast and read the note, and go to work.
When John is wearing his dress, wig and make-up, he is not John. He is Emma. An entirely different personality that is just as shy and quiet as John and never leaves the house other than to hang out the laundry. Emma has no knowledge of anything John does, and John isn't aware of what Emma does. They know each other exist and consider themselves to be married, but that's where their connection ends.
One morning, while Emma is outside hanging the laundry, a train on the tracks behind their fenced in yard overturns and comes crashing into the yard. Naturally, this brings numerous people from the town to see what's happened, and they all meet Emma for the first time! Afraid at their world coming crashing down, Emma runs into the house and frantically finishes her morning routine and wakes up as John, who has no recollection of what happened and becomes fearful when the townsfolk start asking about Emma.
Due to the incident, John and Emma become local celebrities and are invited to various get-together outings with men and women of importance in the town. John wants nothing to do with any of it and just wants his old life back. Emma, however, revels in the idea of meeting people, making friends, and getting out of the house and agrees to join others at parties and one-on-one meetings. Emma starts taking over more and more of John's life, truly becoming her own woman.
One of the people Emma meets is Maggie, the single mother of John's child! It turns out that John's mother paid Maggie to have sex with John and got pregnant as a result. To keep Maggie quiet about who's child it is, John's mother had been paying Maggie child support. After John's mom died, John continued the payments. Emma is learning this for the first time, and feeling bad offers to help Maggie by getting her into the local woman's home.
Outraged by Emma's involvement, John tries to put a stop to everything so that he can go back to his quiet life, free of outsiders. Emma knows they can never go back to the way things were, and she doesn't want to! The two sides of the same person begin to have fight against one another for dominance over the whole.
“Peacock” is a FABULOUS film! It's completely original (well, ok, there've been characters with split personalities before such as “Psycho”, “Identity” and the tv series “United States of Tara”, but in those the multiple personalities usually work together. “Peacock” puts a unique twist on things and was simply a joy to watch), and amazingly acted. Cillian Murphy shines as John and Emma and Ellen Page is a great supporting character who really helps move the story along by bringing out the two opposing viewpoints of John and Emma.
I can't really write too much about this movie. I could talk about the acting, the story, the cinematography, the soundtrack, the directing... but it would all just be a glowing review with no knocks on the film of any kind other than the fact that not enough people know this movie exists! And they should! It's a brilliant masterpiece and everyone should add it to their Netflix queue immediately (it's available both as a DVD or streaming)!
I give “Peacock” a 5 out of 5.
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