The Confirmation | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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The Confirmation

A low-key, semi-sweet dramedy about an estranged dad re-connecting with his son

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The marketing material for this debut by writer-director Bob Nelson suggests it might be one of those stealth religious films. But despite the odd church scene, this low-key dramedy about a fractured family winds up in some darker places, and even suggests that sometimes the best course of action is committing sins. Walt (Clive Owen) is a down-on-his-luck carpenter who is set to spend the weekend with his estranged son, Anthony (Jaeden Lieberher). Plans go awry when Walt’s hand tools are stolen — tools he needs to complete a job, or he loses everything. The search takes the pair on a tour of Kent, Wash.’s gloomier spots: bars, pawn shops, the trailer home where a helpful meth head (Patton Oswalt) lives. (Intentionally or not, the plot is a contemporary update of the neorealist classic The Bicycle Thief, though The Confirmation isn’t nearly as bleak.) Owen is good — he physically seems deflated here — and Lieberher, who starred in St. Vincent with Bill Murray, effectively reprises his role as kid-who-learns-from-somewhat-inappropriate-mentor.

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