Review: Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger raise hell in the mind-bending 'Daniel Isn't Real'

Review: Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger raise hell in the mind-bending 'Daniel Isn't Real'

6.12.2019

Review: Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger raise hell in the mind-bending 'Daniel Isn't Real'

Proving themselves more than their famous names, promising young actors Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger are the reasons to see 'Daniel Isn't Real.'

Patrick Schwarzenegger (son of, yep, the former Governator and Maria Shriver). But on the basis of their confident and charismatic work here, they each stand a good shot at stepping out of their families’ shadows in the future. “Daniel Isn’t Real,” directed and co-written by Adam Egypt Mortimer, is too small and strange a movie to be anyone’s true breakout, but it wouldn’t work without its leads. Or the strong efforts of younger actors Griffin Robert Faulkner and Nathan Reid, whom we first meet, respectively, as troubled youth Luke and his bad influence of an imaginary friend, Daniel. Patrick Schwarzenegger in “Daniel Isn’t Real” (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Advertisement After Daniel persuades Luke to play a trick that nearly costs the boy’s mentally unstable mother (Mary Stuart Masterson) her life, Daniel is banished to a literal dollhouse prison. Years later he reemerges into the life of grown-up Luke (Robbins) and promptly resumes raising hell (now in the strapping form of Schwarzenegger). The question lingers: Is Daniel merely a projection of Luke’s subconscious or is he a demon in disguise? Based on the Brian DeLeeuw book “In This Way I Was Saved,” the film deliberately walks the line between a dramatic exploration of mental illness (and Luke’s crippling fear that he may end up like his institutionalized mother) and a mind-bending (and body-stretching) visually surreal horror thriller. That line isn’t always easy to sustain, and by the third act it all but disappears. In supporting roles of varying importance, Masterson, Sasha Lane and Hannah Marks do enough to suggest the film would have been better off giving them more. But “Daniel Isn’t Real” remains a two-man show, and Robbins and Schwarzenegger are an odd couple worth believing in. 'Daniel Isn't Real' Not rated Read more: Los Angeles Times

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