The intense mental state of Keane (Damian Lewis) is at the core of this disturbing film. He is trying to discover what happened to his missing young daughter. Do we believe his account or dismiss him as mad? If he is sane, he’s getting perilously close to madness, but he strains to behave rationally. He meets Kira, a young woman without means and with her own little girl. Will this rescue him? “Lewis’s Keane is like a pared-down version of Robert de Niro’s Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, and is not diminished by the comparison” (Philip French, The Observer). (90 mins)
Dir: Lodge Kerrigan, USA 2004

Programme Notes

USA 2004 94 minutes

To lose a child in a crowded place is a parent’s nightmare. We first encounter William Keane (Damian Lewis) frantically asking passengers in New York’s Port Authority bus station whether they have seen his young daughter. She disappeared there months before, when his attention was momentarily distracted. Traumatised and now deeply disturbed, Keane is obsessed with his quest for his daughter and finds relief only with alcohol, cocaine and prostitutes. Periods of desperation and confusion alternate with spells of relative calm.

Lynn (Amy Ryan) and her seven year old daughter, Kira (Abigail Breslin), are fellow residents in the same hostel. Keane is able to help Lynn with money from his disability benefit payments and by minding Kira after school. Can we trust Keane with a child so much like his own? What happened to his daughter? Can Keane accept the new responsibility? Director and screenwriter, Lodge Kerrigan, steadily increases tension as we watch events unfold in this drama about mental condition.

In this his third film, Kerrigan has returned to themes similar to those of his first film, Clean, Shaven. In that film a schizophrenic young man travels to see his daughter. Keane was shot in 32 days for less than one million dollars. Filming with a handheld camera and a cinema verité style, John Foster makes much use of single takes of up to 4 minutes, showing us Keane – who is on screen almost throughout – or what he is looking at.

Damian Lewis studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He first came to international prominence in the HBO/BBC series Band of Brothers. Abigail Breslin went on to appear in Little Miss Sunshine. In 2005, Lodge Kerrigan won the Critics Award and the Jury Special Prize for Keane at the Deauville – Festival du Cinema Américain.

William Keane – Damian Lewis
Director – Lodge Kerrigan
Kira Bedik – Abigail Breslin
Screenplay – Lodge Kerrigan
Lynn Bedik – Amy Ryan
Cinematography – John Foster
1st Ticket Agent – Liza Colon-Zayas
2nd Ticket Agent – John Tormey
Producers – Steven Soderbergh, Andrew Fierberg
Co-producers – Brian Bell, Jenny Schweitzer

“the movie’s extended handheld shots, stark settings and lack of scoring all contribute to the film’s sense of urgency and realism” – John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle

“convincing as a portrait of a marginal man gone beyond the emotional pale” – Todd McCarthy, Variety

“Lodge Kerrigan’s real breakthrough. Keane exerts a hair-trigger emotional power.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


“A powerful film”

“An uncompromising movie that simply forces you to experience things moment by moment, like its main character. Coupled with a brave central performance, it was arresting stuff.”

“Gripping portrayal of a man whose life had fallen apart. This was entirely plausible but I did wonder about the rapid change to normal behaviour with the girl. The fear that things might go disastrously wrong persisted to the very end.”

“A fascinating study of a tortured mind and the innocence of youth.”

“Brilliantly acted but almost unbearable to watch”

“Very impressive film and (an) amazing piece of acting – his face imprinted itself on me.”

“Very powerful performance by Lewis. What did he decide to do the last time?”

“Harrowing and gratuitous, although (an) undoubtedly good performance by Lewis. Would’ve much preferred to have seen Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine!”

“A harrowing but redemptive story. Not many jokes. Great acting by the child (Breslin).”

“Desperate people do desperate things! (Story) more suitable to a Mental Health training film – hardly watchable as entertainment!”

“Damien Lewis has a great face! This film was too intensely paced – ending predictable – girl amazing.”

“Damien Lewis good value as ever but (film was) unbearably depressing.”

“It was interesting to make a film with no accompanying musical soundtrack which, I have realised, aims to stir the appropriate emotions. Normally I would have criticised this type of story but I didn’t, purely because there was no soundtrack to stir my emotions.”

“The first part was really hard to watch (hand-held camera!) but the second part, when the mother and child came on the scene, was much better.”

“The first half was boring and I didn’t like the close-up photography. The lack of music was in keeping with the profound message. In the end, (the film) became riveting.”

“Nice idea but too slight for a full-length feature. The first 40mins, establishing that the hero was kind of nuts, was far too long! (Too) sentimental for our tastes.”

“Deeply disturbing that the mother was so trusting of a man she hardly knew! Not everyone is as insane as they seem.”

“What was visual about this (film)? OK, the shaky camera was! A good story (but) surely better as prose – and then left unresolved or not – but why make a mystery (of it) by with holding part of the story?”

“I much prefer the Park & Ride – and as for the music ….. !”

“Make up a sentence containing the words ‘paint’ and ‘dry’ ”


A:9, B:21, C:7, D:4, E:1 to give 70%