Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk living in tiny Peacock, Nebraska, prefers to live an invisible life. This might have to do with John's secret: he has another personality no one knows about, a woman who each morning does his chores and cooks him breakfast before he starts his day. Then, in a moment, everything changes...
Is it good movie?
Well look what we have here, a straight to video release starring some actors who bring some serious chops to the table and almost no one has heard of it. This usually spells disaster and ends up being something disappointing.
Let me be the first to say that I'm happily wrong about Peacock, a twisted little movie that probably didn't make it because the source material was a little too weird for most audiences. But for us weirdo horror lovers, this movie is right up our alley. This one is all about the strange business of having a split personality. Not only is it about a split personality, but a male whose split personality is a woman in full garb. Emma is the alter-ego while John is the male counterpart who lives 'with' her. Not only that, but the flick is set in the 1950s, which adds a serious level of 'the sh*t is gonna hit the fan' to the mix.
Cillian Murphy is our lead actor and he rocks the hell out of this role. His performance as John/Emma is fantastic and impressive. It's really interesting to watch his character as his female personality is actually more confident and positive than his male one. His struggle to overcome abuse and keep his secret is sincere, and it becomes rather heartbreaking when a train crashes in his backyard (!).
Watching everything unravel is really something and lends far more to the story than you might think. When John's routines are destroyed, his life really begins to come apart and the viewer is left wondering whether to be sympathetic to his cause or suspicious of his motives. Watching him interact with the people in his life is realistic and interesting, as Murphy is backed by an awesome cast. Bill Pullman plays John's jerk boss, Susan Sarandon and Keith Carradine as a political couple who use John's situation as a stepping stone for their career and the delightful Ellen Page as a call girl who seems to know more about the past than anyone else.
I don't want to give a lot away but I'll make a few closing points. This movie isn't a mile-a-minute barn burner, but it is unequivocally my sort of film. I dig movies that rely wholly on their characters and their various dimensions of personality to tell their story. When I actually want to know what will happen next and can't always predict it, I'm hooked. The movie isn't perfect of course- the ending felt a bit too ho-hum and Hallmark for my taste, but it didn't ruin the movie for me.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 16 x 9 widescreen presentation with a ratio of 1:78:1 and looks sharp like many releases from LionsGate.
Audio comes in the industry standard of Dolby Digital 5.1 and sounds just fine.
First up is an alternate ending, which is similar to the original ending but leaves things a bit more to the imagination. I far prefer this ending.
There's also a 20 minute featurette called Welcome to Peacock, which is a pretty standard making of feature that you see on most DVDs.
There are also four minutes of deleted scenes, featuring four deleted scenes. I've never really understood the inclusion of short and essentially useless scenes but they're here.
If you like more of that sort of thing, you can also check out 3 minutes of Cillian Murphy rehearsing.
Trailers and a DVD-ROM script round out the disc.
I would love to have had a commentary track on this disc to hear what the filmmakers had to say about their work, but alas we cannot have it all. This isn't a typical horror film by any standard but this is an intellectual and psychological ride that isn't presented in black and white. This one may have come out of nowhere but I don't think I'll be forgetting it anytime soon.