In theory at least, any professional actor, if you give them 90 minutes worth of material, will commit to it and give you a quality performance. But to essentially do a filmed version of a one act play, and keep the audience engaged for the entire time, the truth is even those who would want that challenge may not be able to pull it off.
The Emmy nominations for Best TV Movie and Best Actor are just two of the things that validate David Oyelowo as being a cut above the rest. The premise here, an Army vet kills his mother and slowly loses it, is the kind of part most dramatic actors salivate over. Part of the reason for that is, playing mental illness is a very, very delicate line. To be convincing without condescending (think of the truth inside that monologue Robert Downey Jr. did in ‘Tropic Thunder’). I’m not surprised David could pull it off, but as my last memory of him was as Dr. King, this picture is a great testament to his range. And there’s some other character details that play out that pull you in that David nails as well (the hardest of the hardcore film geeks will understand when I say I was reminded of Brando in ‘Reflections in a Golden Eye’ by David’s performance.
Streaming on HBO Now if you have it. Worth the less than 90 minutes.