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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Passive Aggression

The Drowning on IMDb

Plot Overview

Catsmiddle age manChild psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Seymour (Josh Charles) has a modest practice in New England where his city-bred wife Lauren (Julia Stiles) works on her figurative paintings and shows them in the (distant) city. They are trying to have a baby. He's some­times called on to give expert testimony in court. Twelve years ago it led to the murder conviction (“The forensic evidence was over­whelming”) of eleven-year-old Danny Miller (Jasper Newell.) Charming (“very exceptional & damaged”) Danny (Avan Jogia) is now out and comes to his erstwhile shrink complaining that his testimony convicted him (“They put him away because I thought he was bad,”) he being innocent—there was some exonerating evidence the jury disregarded. He admits he'd had a shoving contest with an elderly lady leaving her lying quietly on the floor, but he says she was alive when he left. He doesn't know who killed her. There were no other suspects, although she being a cat-woman, maybe her cats smothered her: ye old dog-ate-my-homework excuse.

bus stopDanny's experienced cruelty in the Windsor Juvenile Center and the Morgan Hamilton Penitentiary. “We are all of us killers,” he tells Tom, the jury had just projected their own larceny onto him. But Dr. Seymour though merely having rendered an opinion on Danny's culpability had a higher, ethical standard to do no harm. Therapists them­selves undergo therapy to make sure they are clear before they practice. “The Drowning” explores the inner workings of this professional as it subtly reviews his past.

fishesWhen young Tom and a group of boys pushed another boy they'd been taunting into the river, he would have drowned had not Tom's dad jumped in and saved him. Perhaps the second time would be easier. However, Tom “a fantastic swimmer” performs a heroic water rescue (“That water was deep”) in this movie.

Tom is at home meeting people at a local watering hole; he's a social drinker. If he ever had a serious drinking problem, it's passe.

His strong reaction against smokers in his home or office pegs him as an ex-smoker who can't tolerate the habit in others, although he'll take a puff surreptitiously when under stress.

He gives indication that he was once a ladies' man with the co-eds on his lecture circuit. He and his wife are passionate with each other (“When we first met, we didn't leave your apartment for a month.”) He doesn't bother with the co-eds any­more except for an opportune romp when his wife is away. Danny, meanwhile, has befriended his wife.

She is supplementing their income while her husband's cut down on his hours in order to work on his book. He doesn't want her fraternizing with Danny (“Just trust me on this.”) She a modern woman is reluctant to accept his professional reticence (“You can't tell anyone about this, not even your wife”) about Danny (who calls him­self Ian) until the story of his release breaks in the New London Star.

His confidants: Teddy (John C. McGinley) being the prosecutor who got Danny convicted, Angela (Tracie Thoms) Danny's parole officer, and Danny's military father Captain Miller (Robert Clohessy) all advise him to leave the case firmly in the past, but Danny makes that impossible. The former two, of course, are under the same professional prime directive to do no harm, and the captain a strict disciplinarian would have his rules of engagement.


tea timehand crank ice
cream makertea timeright handDanny, it seems, is out to get a rise out of Tom to prove a point. Conflict will arise in the vein of, (Prov. 30:33) “Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” The idea in the proverb is that a state of peace and conciliation can erupt into to one of war just as a liquid (milk) can change state to solid (butter) through continual agitation (churning.) Or hit a critical area (nose) and it bleeds. The movie shows us a tea­kettle boiling water after it's been on the burner a while: liquid turned into steam. It also shows us a bloody laceration on Tom's hand from doing a water rescue.

College News

Danny manipulates Tom and the captain into a mano a mano confrontation. When the crazed army guy comes at Tom with a base­ball bat intending to do him harm, we could see a justifiable defense (“You pulled the trigger.”) How­ever, over a long period of time, Danny is just there irking Tom. He had been applying to schools to better him­self. So what if he got accepted locally?

Production Values

” (2016) was directed by Bette Gordon. The screenplay was written by Stephen Molton and Frank Pugliese based on Pat Barker's novel, Border Crossing. It stars Julia Stiles, Avan Jogia and Josh Charles. The acting was very good all round.

It's not rated in the United States. The photography of New England was stunning and the locations picturesque. Natural environments and beautifully preserved early twentieth century buildings added visual charm. The wife was a ray of sunshine, as well. By contrast scur­rilous elements of society seemed hidden below the surface every­where. The long train ride from the city to the country emphasized the distance between husband and wife, which they were trying to bridge hoping for a new addition to the family. No flash­backs were used, just tension from the past in situ. If there were to be a happy ending, it would have to be—God forbid—in a sequel. Runtime is 99 minutes.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

County Courthouse entrancenativity scenePrison

The institutions themselves seem to be Christian-influenced. Danny has taken on the last name of the prison chaplain, and he quotes him in conversation, indicating some care from that quarter. Hospital personnel are familiar with the names of Jesus, Joseph and Mary; perhaps it's a Catholic place. Tom's mother puts stock in the old Puritan work ethic there in New England. The court­house is adorned with the words: In God We Trust. The society itself, how­ever, is going to hell in a hand basket, but that's nothing new.

This is a dark, brooding, psychological thriller with rays of sunshine trying to poke through. Skip it unless you like such a sweet-and-sour mix. It may not be for every­one, but some will like it. It's well made.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for children: Not rated in the U.S. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: For niche audiences. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.