by Shawn Churchill, Tampa Film Examiner, published on December 28, 2011|
First off, why Peacock wasn't ever released into theaters, I cannot understand! It is a modest psychological thriller that would of made director Alfred Hitchcock proud... and potentially envious too. This petite indie film builds upon Norman Bates' behavior and psychosis from Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) through its main character John Skillpa, played terrifically by Cillian Murphy (Inception). His performance is equally haunting and compelling.
Set in the small town of Peacock, Nebraska, John Skillpa, a quiet bank clerk wakes up to the same breakfast (bacon, eggs, and toast) every morning. However, one foreboding morning, a freight train crashes into his front yard and a woman is almost hit by its caboose. As his neighbors go to help her, John's deepest secret (he has two personalities) and his own life begins to rapidly derail. Unwilling forced into the spotlight, John explains that this woman is Emma whom he married privately.
In addition, the opening sequence featuring Murphy donned in a dress and wig sitting in a chair near an open window staring longingly at the kids waiting for the school bus is very disturbing. Small mundane nuances, such as Emma lovingly leaving a handwritten note next to John's freshly prepared breakfast heightens the odd yet potent creepiness of the movie. Peacock manages to effectively twist the unassuming, the normal, into something chilling, particularly with Murphy's clearly innate transformation between Emma and John.
And Maggie (Ellen Page), a young, overburdened mother, is the key to Skillpa's shrouded past. In her miniscule but important role, Page brings real empathy and sophistication to the desperate barely making ends meet local diner server and mom. Because of Emma befriending her, his two personalities become at fierce war with one another, and John realizes his delicate deception is in jeopardy of being discovered, or worse.
Ultimately, more is less with Peacock. The less known beforehand, the more wallop and absorption this gripping mental piece carries and deservedly so. In conclusion, please give this slow paced spectacular character study a chance, Peacock has totally earned it.