Movie Review: Debut feature The Mend is delectable, if familiar

Part of the fun of watching a new filmmaker develop his or her own voice involves noting early influences, then seeing them get integrated into a unique personal style. Rian Johnson’s feature debut, Brick, was a superb Coen brothers pastiche; by the time he made Looper, seven years later, he’d come into his own. It took Paul Thomas Anderson a while to fuse his love for Scorsese and Altman into something that’s now unmistakably PTA. So here’s an opportunity to get in on the ground floor with a talented fellow named John Magary, whose first film, The Mend, plays like an American take on the work of French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin (Kings And Queen, A Christmas Tale). Desplechin’s pictures can be as maddening as they are exhilarating, and the same is true of The Mend, which sometimes seems in danger of over dosing on its …

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