The other night I watched "Nightingale," an HBO movie starring David Oyelowo as a guy going nuts. Something terrible happens, and you watch as the main character's mind unspools. The best things: Oyelowo's disturbing, nuanced, terrifying performance, the gorgeously dated interiors, the brilliant writing. The worst things: well, there aren't really any, unless you don't like watching people unhinge. One of the most intriguing and rare things about "Nightingale" is that it forces you to follow in the footsteps and faux rational thinking of a deeply unreliable narrator. No one else makes an appearance in the movie, so, as a viewer, you are left with two choices: go it alone or trust the nutbird. And because Oyelowo's articulation of the man going mad is so careful, you find yourself wanting to believe: in him, in something, in resolution. There isn't really any -- not anything that's good anyway. Still, the reason to watch it is that it provides a considered alternative to the hysteria our culture inhabits every time someone unhinged does something insane. We want to declare: That person is Other. In fact, the most disturbing thing about someone who goes off the rails is how much we see of ourselves in them, which, of course, indicates how close we are to doing the same thing -- or, you know, something like it. In the end, the movie's clever use of technology -- an iPhone, a laptop camera -- reminds us that nowadays, craziness isn't just for loners. It's a show for us all, one that we can't get enough of watching.
Buy THE TUMOR! "This is one of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."