House of D

Coming of age, Duchovny style in his feature debut as a director, X Files David Duchovny shows a sharp eye for composition. It's his tin ear for dialogue that dulls this nostalgia piece about Tom Warshaw (Duchovny), an artist living in Paris with his French wife and remembering his life in Manhattan, circa 1973, when he turned thirteen — just as his own son is doing now. Fade to Greenwich Village, where young Tommy (Anton Yelchin, offering subtlety in a film that is parched for it) must deal with a nurse mother (Tea Leoni, Duchovny's wife) fighting depression over her husband's death from cancer. To lift his spirits, Tommy partners with a retarded delivery guy named Pappas, played by Robin Williams without dodging any of the role's many mawkish pitfalls. When Tommy and Pappas hatch a plan to buy a bicycle, they hide their cash outside the — title alert — Women's House of Detention, where an inmate, Lady (Erykah Badu), gives Tommy advice on how to score drugs, score with a girl (Zelda Williams, Robin's daughter) and deal with plot complications right off a TV-drama assembly line. The film looks and feels authentic, but Duchovny has powered his undeniably personal journey with a counterfeit heart.

From The Archives Issue 104: March 16, 1972
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