April 5, 2018 Where Is Kyra? (Movie Review)
The superbly talented Michelle Pfeiffer and Kiefer Sutherland return to the big screen in the new Drama, Where Is Kyra?, which arrives to theaters on Friday, April 6, 2018, thanks to the good folks at Great Point Media.
In Parkside, Brooklyn, down-on-her-luck Kyra (Pfeiffer: One Fine Day 1996, Murder on the Orient Express 2017) is struggling to balance caring for her elderly and ailing mother, Ruth (Suzanne Shepherd: Goodfellas 1990, Requiem for a Dream 2000), with keeping the pair financially afloat. Unfortunately, with the economic situation as it is, Kyra was downsized from her job two years earlier, and continues to toil away at trying to find steady work in New York.
When Kyra’s succession of endless bad days culminates in tragedy, she suffers through her mother’s sparsely-attended funeral and finds herself at a local watering hole, in need of alcoholic companionship. Here she meets an attractive neighbor, Doug (Sutherland: 24 series, Designated Survivor series), who is also grinding away to survive, working as both a cabbie and a nursing home attendant. When one drink leads to another, the two find themselves back at Kyra’s place consummating the beginnings of a new relationship.
What follows sees Kyra’s situation spiraling further and further into the depths of darkness as her financial situation grows ever more tenuous. Forced to assume a double-identity to try and keep herself from drowning, Kyra will have to face facts when her covert operations eventually catch up to her, ten-fold. Clocking in at 98 minutes in-length, Where Is Kyra? was directed by Andrew Dosunmu (Hot Irons documentary 1999, Mother of George 2013) and was written by Dosunmu and Darci Picoult (Mother of George 2013), based off a screenplay by Picoult. It also stars Tony Okungbowa (The One Last Time short 2009, Echo Park 2014); Babs Olusanmokun (Black Mirror series, The Defenders miniseries); and Sam Robards (Casualties of War 1989, American Beauty 1999).
Where Is Kyra? presents a desolate view of one woman’s predicament-filled life, a bleak picture of what it means to truly be down on your luck. Director Dosunmu places a truly somber and melancholic pall over his film, evoking deep, dark emotions and an endless sympathy for our heroine’s dire circumstances. Just when Kyra believes it cannot possibly get any worse, it always does. Ultimately, the end result is a kind of social commentary that tackles our troubled economic times, represented by one destitute woman, struggling to try and find her feet in a rain-slicked, endlessly overcast climate.
As the titular character, Pfeiffer, as she so often is, is impressive. She manages to allow the weight of her character’s situation to weigh physically upon her shoulders, translating her endless emotional struggles into visual cues for her viewers. The emotional strife is always apparent on her face, and the bleakness of her character’s situation seems to age Ms. Pfeiffer on film; she wears her role on her person flawlessly. The irony, however, is that no matter how hard one might try to make Pfeiffer look tossed together and frumpy, she is a woman who always looks put-together and stylish, even when wearing a school bus-colored raincoat and rumpled jeans. Aiding to the entire production, Pfeiffer’s on-screen chemistry with her co-star Sutherland is organic, and they share several playful moments that serve to delicately lighten the black mood. In his role, Sutherland is largely here to support Pfeiffer’s character, though he is exemplary as the more jovial Doug, as is generally the case with his acting chops.
Dosunmu places a gentle yet artistic spin on the cinematography here, oft times choosing to focus on Pfeiffer during moments of intense conversation, omitting the second actor from view entirely. The end result is a kind of myopic view of Kyra’s situation, allowing viewers to lose themselves entirely inside this troubled woman’s psyche and, in turn, creating a more vast empathy for her situation. Additionally, musically speaking, there is a kind of discordant melee that occurs throughout the film’s original, classical score whenever Pfeiffer steps into her alter-ego, an auditory cue that might initially seem bizarre but works wonderfully to amplify this secondary mood.
Shot in New York – in locations ranging from Hempstead, Long Island, to Flatbush and Mt. Vernon – Where Is Kyra? is a tragically realistic Drama, one that asks viewers to put themselves into the shoes of one truly unfortunate woman. While the title might seemingly imply that this is a whodunnit, that is absolutely not the case here. Lost in the tumultuous maze of life, we instead watch Kyra flounder to find her footing as her circumstances snowball down a mountainous hillside.
With splendid acting, and a truly moody yet artistic bent throughout the entire production, this is a film that is guaranteed to steal away your warm fuzzies but, in turn, make you do some thinking. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Where Is Kyra? 4 of 5 stars.