Wednesday, October 07, 2015

"Nightingale": returned and disturbed Iraq War veteran recreates "Psycho" over a lost homoerotic episode from the military

Nightingale” (2014), directed by Elliot Lester, is nearly a monologue, and more like a stage play than even a TV movie (for HBO).

David Oyelowo is riveting as Peter Snowden (a coincidental name now), a returned veteran from Iraq, with an obsession with this phantom buddy Edward from the Army.

He wants to be Edward’s “friend” again, supposedly after running into him or a glance in the library.  He rehearses the planned phone call to invite him to dinner.

For about 83 minutes we watch his breakdown, and imagine him to be a new Norman Bates, as he approaches his own end, and as we deal with what may have happened to Edward.  But that’s also to suggest something indeed grisely happened to Peter’s mother, who apparently would never have any of his life in her house, and who believe that what she wanted for her son simply followed the Bible.  (Yup, I remember the mannequin in “Psycho”.)  The title of the movie is a contraction of something like "not in my house."

There are insinuations that the past “friendship” was homoerotic, and that Peter never dated and married as expected but wound up playing what conservative writer George Gilder calls “upward affiliation”.  The film never gets into anything like the now repealed “don’t ask don’t tell” policy because the film needs to remain minimalist.

But even before my own “second coming”, these sorts of friendships (and rehearsals of prospective encounters) sometimes became important to me, especially back in the 1970s.  There was a bit of déjà vu in all of this for me.

The official site is here.  The film seems to be set in Alabama.

Picture: north of downtown Selma, AL, my trip, May, 2015.


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