For a few years now Logan Lerman has been bubbling under the surface of super stardom. By rights, The Perks of Being A Wallflower should have been the tipping point. The same is true of Fury. Indignation makes the strongest case for him as a leading man of note yet. It’s also probably the picture that’s farthest off the radar. But with on the heels of a strong showing at Sundance and solid word of mouth it is the kind of performance that could get him in the conversation as a dark horse contender. He’s probably not going to net a nom, but he’s going to turn the heads of cinephiles in a major way — think Brie Larson in Short Term 12.
Indignation, which is adapted from Philip Roth’s novel of the same name, follows Marcus, a working class student who moves from his hometown in New Jersey to Ohio for university. It’s 1955, and Jewish-born Marcus is already something of an anomaly at his conservative Christian college, but his own Atheist beliefs and affection for a troubled girl further alienate him from his peers and professors. As viewers, we watch his struggle for the liberation to simply be himself. A high stakes proposition in a world where rebellion can get you expelled and a lack of student status can land you in the midst of the Korean War.
It’s simple, but remarkably engrossing. Lerman’s narrative carrying effort is matched in intensity by Sarah Gadon who brings an enigmatic, unbridled quality to Marcus’ object of affection and confusion, Olivia Hutton.
Indignation is a well acted, beautifully structured story that does simple exceptionally well. It’s a movie of people having conversations while never feeling at ease to say what they really mean. Of covert glances and paranoia and barely suppressed rage. And it’s absolutely thrilling to watch unfold. And all that in the feature directorial debut of noted producer and screenwriter, James Schamus. We’ll be watching what comes next from all of these players with a most curious eye.