Mirren's in the Chase
Following a nervous breakdown Chase Phillips (Helen Mirren - The Mosquito Coast) went away for professional help before returning to the home she has with her husband Richard (Beau Bridges - Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure) in Martha's Vineyard. But it is clear to Richard that Chase is still suffering from clinical depression and so hires Elizabeth (Kyra Sedgwick - Phenomenon) to be a mother helper. It is a move which doesn't go down well with Chase who immediately tries to make life as hard as possible for Elizabeth but the young woman is made of tougher stuff and puts up with an incredible amount due to her own secret of mental illness running in her own family. But when eventually she snaps it brings a dramatic change of events.
The first thing which might grab your attention if you chose to watch "Losing Chase" is the name Kevin Bacon as this was his debut as a director. Now Bacon accounts for himself nicely with an unfussy but by no means boring directional style which allows the actors to get into character and for him and the camera to be the observer. What seems all the more amazing is that to me "Losing Chase" is something out of Bacon's area of expertise, I don't remember him starring in anything similar and so to take on something out of his comfort zone for a directional debut is in my books brave.
Then there is the storyline and in a strange way this is the movies weakness or at least for someone like me who watches lots of movies. From the minute we learn that Chase is clinically depressed and Richard has brought in the attractive Elizabeth to help you can already fathom out some of what is going to happen. The twist if that is the right word is the revelation that Elizabeth's own family suffering from mental illness and that adds a little curve ball as to what you expect will happen. As for the real twist, the dramatic change of events well to be honest it is not that shocking but more an interesting turn of events.
But whilst "Losing Chase" suffers from a predictable story it makes up for it with performances with Helen Mirren delivering a fascinating portrayal of Chase. The depth of depression is very clear to see, moody and nasty in her attitude towards others but you also suspect that their is scheming behind the moods, that she doesn't just act nasty but pre-plans some of what she is going to do. But this works because both Kyra Sedgwick and Beau Bridges play off her nicely be it showing patient sympathy or controlled anger.
What this all boils down to is that "Losing Chase" is an engaging movie with solid performances but a storyline which is unfortunately a little obvious.