Director: Mary McGuckian

During the intensive, unorthodox family program at a New Mexico rehab facility, recovering addicts and their invited loved ones must undergo a variety of psychological exercises. In one of the most revealing assignments, addicts cover their eyes with a blindfold and walk seven paces, spin several times and then try to find their way back to the “center” or home. While it’s quickly revealed after a few frustrated outbursts that the goal is to get the individual to realize the acceptability and importance of asking for help, viewers find themselves acutely reminded of this lesson in the surprising closing moments of Mary McGuckian’s largely improvised film Intervention. During the final climax, the camera swirls in a circular fashion among the leads we feel we’ve come to know intimately during their therapy and soon we realize that all of the people at the ranch in question--not simply just the addicts—are all equally lost, at a crossroads in their lives and are in need of assistance. Reminiscent of director Mike Figgis’s emotionally revealing work in films such as Leaving Las Vegas and One Night Stand, this character driven ensemble piece imported from the UK features outstanding performances by an acclaimed cast. When the movie opens, we are drawn in by the quickened pace established by the four person editing team who employ a tense musical score (by Kim Bingham and Nicky Shaw) and a split screen device heightened by the cinematography from Mark Wolf to help realize the director’s vision that all aid in making us feel like one of the participants in a desperate intervention of self-obsessed adult film actor Mark (a ferociously powerful and manipulative Rupert Graves) by his family. Soon after he’s faced with his habit, we meet up with Mark’s estranged wife Jane (a gripping and determined Jennifer Tilly) who arrives to participate in the program of rehabilitating Mark and trying to come to some sort of better understanding of her martial relationship, only to be floored (along with the staff) by the arrival of Mark’s blonde bombshell girlfriend Pamela (Donna D’Errico). The circumstances help fuel the film with enough confrontations and realizations to supply more than enough plot than its succinct ninety-three minute running time can handle and while we realize that there are some larger definitive questions being raised by our limited understanding of the addicts’ personalities, they are answered in some candid close-ups and monologues during the closing credits. Seemingly drawing inspiration from the gritty, interpersonal man-woman marital dramas crafted by the grandfather of independent film John Cassavetes, Mary McGuckian’s piece is made all the more fascinating by her decision to have the rehab center run by married couple, Bill (Colm Feore) and Kelly (Andie MacDowell) and throughout the film are constantly reminded of the harrowing toll that shepherding these destructive people through their struggles takes on their own marriage. As evidenced in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, McGuckian’s forceful film explores the similar idea that sometimes when the door to secrets, desires and truth-telling is opened, one learns much more than they bargained for about the person with whom they’ve tried to build a relationship. In addition, once again, we’re reminded by the deft filmmaking craftsmanship that sometimes everyone’s lives are in need of an intervention or-- at the very least-- the reminder that it’s okay to ask for help.