Posted: 06/27/2010


Don McKay

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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Ok, so Don McKay is a weird movie starring a weird Thomas Haden Church, who gets wrapped up in some weird circumstances with what turns out to be a weird chick named Sonny, but that’s really not her real name.

Don McKay will be released on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as digital download Tuesday, June 29 on Image Entertainment. Don McKay is Jake Goldenberger’s directorial debut: a twisting, shocking ride with a hint of Coen-esque humor.

There are some funny parts interspersed in all that is happening, within a story about a high school maintenance worker who goes back to his childhood home, presumably to visit an old girlfriend, who is pretending to be dying of some terminal disease. Don has been writing letters to this girlfriend named Sonny for 25 years or so, and he finally bites the bullet and leaves his job to come to the small town for a visit.

For some reason, Don is on guard as he’s in the cab from the bus station; it’s as if he has some dark secret that he’s hiding from when he lived in the town before. Don is actually harboring a secret of the reality of a mistake he made as a teenager that resulted in the deaths of his best buddies. Elizabeth Shue plays Sonny and Melissa Leo plays Sonny’s live-in nurse.

As the story unfolds, it’s learned that Sonny’s doctor is not only just her doctor but also her ex-hubby. But she seems to be in a hurry to have Don marry her, also. One twisted lie turns into another, after Don kills the doctor in an act of self defense. But that’s not the only murder in the movie. At one point a couple of people get killed after being whacked in the head with a frozen beef roast.

After Don kills the doctor, he partially buries the body, until he can find help to dispose of it completely. But when he comes back, the body has been removed. Maria, the live-in nurse, has taken the body and uses it to blackmail Don for what she tells him is a trust fund that his grandfather had left him, since he’s been gone from the town. That’s hardly the truth and one thing leads to another. At the end the truth is revealed, Don discovers that Sonny really isn’t Sonny, the young lady whom he has loved with all his heart since his teens. And just as quietly as Don slipped into town, he slips right back out to go back to his mundane job at the school.

Don McKay is an edgy combination of lies and promises, reason and madness. Nothing is what it seems. No one can be trusted. The movie also illustrates just how far one lonely man will travel to try to rekindle flames of love long lost.

Don McKay is available on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, June 29, by Image Entertainment. Visit Web site for more information and the download.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.

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