360 Review: Downloading Nancy


Downloading Nancy is one of the few films in recent memory that I would label repellant.  With Maria Bello, Jason Patric and Rufus Sewell, the film should at least have garnered some kudos for acting skill, but it’s an embarrassing effort.

Nancy (Bello) is at the tail end of a spiraling 15-year marriage to Albert (Sewell), but their relationship is so insufferable and her depression so deep that she decides to ask internet pal Louis (Patric) to kill her.  She takes a bus to Baltimore, and they prepare for a hotel stay where he plans to inflict pain on her (the only way she can “feel”) before ending her life as promised.

Perhaps in a different film this would be perversely compelling, but not here.  The film is washed out, as visually bleak as its narrative, all greys and blues, sickly color schemes and staggered camera work.  As for the characters, Nancy is sick (to an unsympathetic degree), Albert is completely impotent, Louis is oily and conflicted, while Nancy’s therapist (Amy Brenneman) is so ineffective you assume Nancy found the woman on the internet.

The film tries to turn the tables as Louis feels something akin to love for Nancy but she views this as betrayal.  There is no redemption, no solace, no redeeming sense at all, anywhere in the film.  It seems merely an exercise in prolonged punishment, anguish and depression, both for its characters and the audience.

Little surprise that the film’s theatrical run in Dallas last year was abruptly cancelled.  Clearly, the powers that be realized no one would gain from such a miserable endurance test, and cut their losses.

(Downloading Nancy is currently available on DVD and Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” service, which can be viewed via an XBOX 360.)