The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
"Levity" is an earnest but hopeless attempt to tell a parable about a man's search for redemption. By the end of his journey, we don't care if he finds redemption, if only he finds wakefulness. He's a whiny slug who talks like a victim of over-medication. I was reminded of the Bob and Ray routine about the Slow Talkers of America.
That this unfortunate creature is played by Billy Bob Thornton is evidence, I think, that we have to look beyond the actors in placing blame. His co-stars are Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter and Kirsten Dunst. For a director to assemble such a cast and then maroon them in such a witless enterprise gives him more to redeem than his hero. The hero has merely killed a fictional character. Ed Solomon, who wrote and directed, has stolen two hours from the lives of everyone who sees the film, and weeks from the careers of these valuable actors.
The movie stars Thornton as Manuel Jordan, a man recently released from custody after serving 22 years of a sentence for murder. That his first name reminds us of Emmanuel and his surname echoes the Jordan River is not, I fear, an accident; he is a Christ figure, and Thornton has gotten into the spirit with long hair that looks copied from a bad holy card. The only twist is that instead of dying for our sins, the hero shot a young convenience store clerk--who died, I guess, for Manuel's sins.
Now Manuel returns to the same district where the killing took place. This is one of those movie neighborhoods where all the characters live close to one another and meet whenever necessary. Manuel soon encounters Adele Easely (Hunter), the sister of the boy he killed. They become friendly and the possibility of romance looms, although he hesitates to confess his crime. She has a teenage son named Abner (Geoffrey Wigdor), named after her late brother.