Puzzle review – jigsaw drama is exceptionally boring
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Verdict: Bring along low expectations, and possibly a pillow. Or just don’t go to see this one. Marc Turtletaub, the producer behind indie hits Little Miss Sunshine and Safety Not Guaranteed, made his directorial debut with Gods Behaving Badly. The film premiered at the Rome Film Festival in 2013, was panned by the few critics who saw it, and never got a release. Puzzle, Turtletaub’s second attempt as director, was never going to meet the same fate – this kind of harmless comfort viewing will always ensnare an audience. But while it’s never unwatchable, Puzzle is oppressively unambitious and exceptionally boring. Agnes (Kelly Macdonald), a timid suburban housewife walked all over by her husband Louis (David Denman) and two sons, is gifted a 1000-piece jigsaw for her birthday. Completing it twice in a short space of time, she takes the train into New York in search of more puzzles (Agnes is more than a bit old-fashioned, so presumably hasn’t heard of the internet). There she meets Robert (Irrfan Khan), a puzzle fanatic in need of a partner for the National Jigsaw Championships. As the pair practice for the upcoming tournament, the companionship Robert offers brings out a noticeable change in Agnes. Having devoted her life to her family, she begins to question what her own desires and ambitions are, and finally starts to stand up to her inattentive, entitled husband. Agnes decides to keep her New York visits to Robert a secret, and it becomes clear that their unusual relationship might not be as platonic as Agnes has convinced herself it is.
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