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This first feature for filmmaker Jordan Melamed uses the verite style of the Dogme 95 movement for a hard-hitting drama centering on a group of troubled teens. Taking place entirely in a psychiatric ward, the film opens with Lyle (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who has chosen to accept calm in the wake of being treated for wounds due to a violent outburst from a fight that left another young man in horrible shape. Learning that he won't be taken home by his mother, he is transferred instead to a juvenile lockdown facility and deemed a menace to society. After being sedated during an episode, he… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's an undemonstrative, vividly authentic film."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"A movie of heart and substance."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"Powerful film packed with profanity and brutality."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"Anyone stumbling into the cinema halfway through would think they were watching a documentary, as Manic dispenses with all cinematic flourishes, instead aiming for and achieving absolute realism."
‑ Nick Dawson, Empire Magazine
"Melamed takes the earnest, tastefully exploitative route."
‑ Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix
"Shows more hopelessness than optimism but is never less than honest."
‑ Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post
"Manic has quite a bit to recommend it as well, not the least of which is the lack of Hollywood gloss mental patients."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Cheadle is excellent and gives this the true credibility it deserves."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"This is exactly the kind of film the Dogme 95 movement was meant to inspire."
‑ Ron Wells, Film Threat
"As kids-in-a-psych-ward movies go, this one pretty much follows the formula."
‑ Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"Its modesty of aspiration and its naturalism of style are its two most salient values."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Washington Post
"Melamed and his cast provide more than a few truth-divining moments."
‑ Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
"A dynamo of a movie with solid performances."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Melamed's slavish devotion to frenetically moving hand-held camera shots is perplexing at first, looking like an obvious attempt at obtaining Dogme 95 credibility."
‑ Matt Kelemen, Las Vegas CityLife
"Manic's landscape is filled with emotional thunderstorms; don't expect a sunny sky, but you might find a ray of hope."
‑ Elias Savada, Nitrate Online
More reviews for Manic on Rotten Tomatoes

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