Rated: R for sexual content and some language. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 29, 2016 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Post World War II drama is thoughtfully sure-handed given that it's adapted from Philip Roth based on his college days.
James Schamus's Indignation has much to say from its lushly evocative production and storyline which may very well may connect with those intrigued by Todd Haynes films like Far From Heaven and the more recent Carol in its examination along the lines of oppression, repression and conformity.
The use of the Korean War to bookend the proceedings isn't as poignant as what's within it, to set a more pronounced saturnine tone with the inevitable discomfiting situations which must be endured.
Fury and Perks of Being a Wallflower actor Logan Lerman is the linchpin whose arc percolates through the innocence and realities of being a self-professed atheist Jewish student Marcus in an Ohio university who's caught off guard by a similarly disoriented attractive blonde non-Jewish student Olivia (a vulnerably piquant Sarah Gadon).
The part of the Indignation which stands out is a meeting between Dean Caudwell (an authoritarian Tracy Letts, playwright of August: Osage County) and Marcus, part interrogation and debate after the latter relocates to more dilapidated digs because of bothersome, wacky Jewish roommates.
While there are intense moments between Lerman and Letts, Lerman also lets the emotional underpinnings simmer through scenes with Gadon as an understated passion is felt. Also, besides a father who is abnormally concerned about his son, the consternations of his mother Esther, an imperious Linda Emond, who doesn't take Marcus's courtship with Olivia, also has some strong moments opposite the likable, if overreacting Lerman.
Schamus does a lot to captivate just through the dialogue as he the producer/writer did with Ang Lee in films like Brokeback Mountain and The Ice Storm. His first foray behind the camera offers a surprising realism into white America when the Red Scare and anti-Semitism was prevalent.