The defenseless becomes The Defendor

March 3rd, 2010 by Nathan Atnikov

Peter Stebbings’ Defendor is about a (somewhat) ordinary citizen disguising his true identity, putting on a bunch of clothes that don’t quite suit him, and trying to be something he’s not. This is also, not surprisingly, an apt description of the movie itself. Defendor has been widely regarded as another in Woody Harrelson’s already impressive series of goofball comedies – only it’s not. There are some legitimately funny moments but, overall, it’s actually a pretty dark movie that hinges on some very human insecurities.

In what must be her third or fourth breakout role, Kat Dennings plays the creatively named Kat, a prostitute and drug addict who befriends Harrelson’s titular character. We can assume most of their bonding happens off-screen, because not a lot happens on screen to suggest the relationship that materializes. Harrelson is predictably good as Arthur Poppington (who is good as Defendor), a one-note character for obvious reasons. Poppington is mentally challenged, and through a series of misunderstandings is seeking revenge on someone who doesn’t actually exist. I’ve given you enough details to piece together the plot for the most part.

Once you’ve settled into the mood of the film, it’s pretty enjoyable, although it seems like some scenes happen twice just in case you missed it the first time. It’s well worth it to watch Harrelson operate in his comfort zone, and Dennings turn in yet another performance that will convince people her next one will make her a star.

Defendor plays at the Uptown until March 4th.


Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply