I spoke briefly today via telephone with Aaron Eckhart about the unsettling Towelhead, which opens here Friday. I'm scheduled to interview its writer-director, Alan Ball, tomorrow for a piece about the film that's running in Sunday's paper.
At one point, I asked Eckhart what he thought about the mixed reviews the film has received and the common complaint that it doesn't tell us how we're supposed to feel about its messed-up, ambiguous characters (which is one of the things I loved most about the movie).
"American cinema gets accused sometimes of being dumbed down or one-dimensional, but when you offer up something that is challenging and brave and courageous, it doesn't get the credit it deserves for being those things," Eckhart said.
"One of the great things about independent movies is that they don't always feel compelled to answer the questions they are posing. I put Alan Ball in the same category as Neil LaBute or David Mamet or David Rabe: They are putting it out there and asking the audience to be accountable for their own thoughts and feelings."