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Mainstream - Reign Over Me - Adam Sandler

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Reign Over Me
Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler
Jada Pinkett Smith, Donald Sutherland
Written and directed by Mike Binder
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007
124 minutes

Adam Sandler is brilliant in Reign Over Me and I never thought I'd say this about Sandler. Reign Over Me is a smart, well-written, subtle, sometimes funny, often poignant drama and writer / director Mike Binder is in full control of everything, including, and most importantly, Adam Sandler. This DVD features an all star cast, an original and interesting, immensely sad story, and some mighty fine camera work.

Reign Over Me is a great drama about Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle), a man who has everything and then meets his doppelganger, Charlie Finneman (Adam Sandler), a man who lost everything in 9/11. Charlie and Alan were college roommates, Alan is a successful New York dentist with a nice little family. Charlie is one of those people you tend to avoid looking at when you see them on the street.

If there is such a thing as a male version of a chick flick, this DVD is it. Alan Johnson may be a happy man but he feels his wife gives him too little breathing room. He may be a successful dentist but work pressures are getting to him so he tries to get sidewalk advice from a psychologist practicing in his building (Liv Tyler). Doing otherwise would be admitting he does have something to talk about and he is too bottled up to do that. Finneman may suffer from post traumatic stress and in total denial about what has happened to him but in many ways he is free as a bird to do what he wants, including remodeling his kitchen as often as it needs to be. This difference, which in many ways is a similarity, and the fact they were college roommates is what bonds the two men.

Writer /director Mike Binder has put together a great drama that can constantly surprise the viewer. Yes, there are a couple of scenes that are a bit too long but at the same time they are kind of necessary to making the story as real as possible.

Sandler is great in this dramatic role because he doesn't get to be Adam Sandler but Charlie Finneman, a man whose life was destroyed on 9/11 and tries very hard to forget what he had because it makes him remember how much he has lost. This form of grief is something society cannot readily accept and also does not know how to deal with. This, in many ways, is what Reign Over Me is really about.

Even if Reign Over Me does suffer unjustifiably from the Hollywood syndrome in the last few minutes it is well worth watching even if you are already depressed and trying to deal with things yourself.

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