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You may not know his face or his name, but James Schamus is one of the most influential figures in independent film history. As the former CEO of Focus Features, the executive took bold risks on such films as Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” and Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” among many others, and he found a way to tap into serious-minded adult audiences that has all but been lost in the years since.
Fortunately, Schamus brought back the kind of daring indies he used to champion with his directorial debut “Indignation,” which found acclaim on the festival circuit and some solid box office during the summer months. The drama, based on the Philip Roth novel of the same name, stars Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon in their best performances to date. Logan’s Marcus Messner is a working-class Jewish student who gets the chance to attend a prestigious college in Ohio. It’s here where he finds love and battles religious oppression from the school’s dean (a knockout Tracy Letts).
In his review for IndieWire, Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn raved, “Rather than literally interpreting Roth’s work, it transforms the edginess, vitality and cultural inquisitiveness of his writing into a cinematic ride — no small feat, considering the material.”
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“Indignation” is a powerful character drama that deserves to be seen on VOD this week. Senior Film Critic David Ehrlich makes the case for the indie in the video below.
Want to watch more indie films on VOD? Here are our 6 top picks: