Anthony Perkins scared us in 1960 when he dressed up as his mother in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. In 1992, Jaye Davidson shocked us when we discovered he was a man dressed up like a lady in the sleeper hit The Crying Game. Now, the newest member of the cross-dressing group is Irish actor Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) in the Direct-to-DVD thriller Peacock.
It is the 1950’s and in a little town in Nebraska called Peacock, there is a dark secret that no one knows about. John Skillpa (Murphy) lives his life by a very strict routine. He eats the same breakfast every morning at 8:15 and rides his bike to work. John is a bank clerk.
He enters the bank through the backdoor and quickly goes downstairs to a small, windowless office. His supervisor Edmund French (Bill Pullman) gladly gives him piles of work to do every morning.
John eats his lunch by the same lake every afternoon and when the work day is over. He goes home. John keeps to himself and no one bothers him.
Everything changes for John when one morning a train crashes into his backyard. Now, John is the center of attention in the town. This is when people discover that John has a woman living with him, his wife Emma. There is just one thing that the townspeople do not see, Emma looks an awful lot like John, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way.
Due to being raised by a cruel mother, there is a deep, dark battle taking place inside John’s mind. Will he remain John Skillpa or will he give in and become his wife Emma?
Also staring in Peacock is Keith Carradine as the mayor of Peacock. His wife Fanny is played by Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon. Ellen Page (Juno) plays Maggie, a waitress, who has her own secret about John.
In his debut as a director and writer Michael Lander, along with first-time writer Ryan Roy, create a story that completely sucks you in and keeps you entertained all the way through.
Their next film, Kite, has already been picked up by Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way, for development. If Kite is half as good as Peacock, then you’ll definitely want to be on the lookout for these two up and coming filmmakers.
Cillian Murphy gives a remarkable performance in his dual-roles. John is about ready to crack under the pressure to keep his secret and Murphy wonderfully captures John’s intensity.
At first reluctant to be a part of society, after Emma strikes up a friendship with Fanny and then Maggie too, she seems quite comfortable in her new surroundings. Cillian easily shows he is equally talented enough to transform himself into a woman.
Ellen Page is very effective as a young woman who is desperate to get out of her small hometown and start a new life elsewhere. Susan Sarandon is a true professional. Her performance is as polished as a brand new car.
It would have been nice if accomplished actors, Keith Carradine and Bill Pullman, would have had larger roles. These are two people that can always enhance a movie with a bigger presence.
Even though some people may think that Peacock is a cheap ripoff of Psycho, I found John Skillpa to be an eerie and bizarre character that is without question worthy of your attention.