28 May 2007 | rsoonsa
Estimable Work Based Upon Actual Events.
An interesting film based upon the experiences of Dr. Robert Shushan and his British Columbian Centre for the Mentally and Physically Disabled, MASK focuses upon his complex relationship with a disturbed young man, James Jones, employed at the Centre as a janitor, and the psychologist's attempt to locate the father of Jones. After the overworking Shushan (Donald Sutherland) suffers a heart attack, Jones (Matthew Fox) who is responsible for saving his life, urges the older man to repay him by helping him search for his sire, but the Centre's board members have decided that the convalescent should withdraw from his longstanding position as director. Sutherland portrays a workaholic who has neglected his family, and his perceived failure by his son Brian (Bradley Whitford) provides impetus for a surrogate father/son agnation to develop between Shushan and the parentally bereft Jones. Edited much more crisply than most films made for television, it is necessary that MASK be shot primarily in Vancouver and its eastern suburb Burnaby, benefiting therewith from employment of handicapped individuals, in bit parts and as extras, most of whom are involved in local acting workshops for the mentally impaired. The work is somewhat clichéd and lifeless until its closing scenes, which are entirely potent and enhanced by actual footage of the real James Jones in a moving after piece directly relating to the climactic moments of the scenario. Sutherland, Fox and Whitford are impressive and a nicely nuanced thematic score is contributed by Jonathan Goldsmith for a production which can be added to the short list of motion pictures which treat without self-consciousness of the importance of adult father/son consanguinity.