Archives / 2000 Sundance Film Festival

Panic

Director: Henry Bromell

Screenwriters: Henry Bromell

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Midlife crises are a normal event for many forty-plus American males, and Alex (Bill Macy) seems no different from the average. He is going through a very difficult time. He has a marriage that’s been through the normal ups and downs but is now struggling, a young son who he’s devoted to but worried about, and a particularly stressful job: he works for his father in the family business and kills people for a living.

More than the specific tensions that this particular occupation brings with it, Alex is tired of hiding what he does from his wife and child and wants to leave the profession. Feeling tormented, he seeks the services of a good therapist to unload his burdens but finds unexpected solace in the waiting room, where he meets Sarah (Neve
Campbell). She’s manic, confused, and at loose ends; he’s repressed and trapped in domestic and career turmoil, but somehow this odd couple manages to connect, and each one makes the other feel like life’s worth living. With the potential for an affair looming on the horizon but an increasingly problematic professional life, Alex is caught in a difficult family bind whose resolution will not be easy.

Henry Bromell has written a low-key, darkly humorous script and aptly directs this unaffected farce that fully demonstrates the enormous talents of its lead actor, Macy. With terrific turns by a superb supporting cast, including John Ritter, Tracey Ullman, and Donald Sutherland, this subtle and smart riff on a old formula brings unexpected delights and enjoyment.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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